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CD Review: Longital's Gloria 

The Deal: Straight outta Bratislava comes an ethereal sounding duo singing romantic harmonies, beautifully mannered folk-ish tunes, sometimes transformed into up-tempo, electronic raves. Slovakia's best-loved indie group is touring America and looking to break into a larger demographic, bigger at least than its native Slovak Republic. Melancholy yet upbeat, this is soothing, gorgeous, exotic and rocking.

The Good: They have a grander sound than a mere duo. Their sampling and their virtual bandmates – one a touch-screen interface and the other a drum machine – makes for exciting music containing real contrast and high drama. Picture title cut "Gloria" – an end of the world scenario complete with fish flying over flowing rivers full of music, streaming out to sea. Cut three, "Berlin – Grenoble – Arles," morphs into full-blown orchestral sounds before returning to its original acoustic dynamic. It's handsomely packaged with lyrics printed in both English and Slovak.

The Bad: Slovak is not the most poetic-sounding language yet the overall effect is atmospheric and compelling, like their home base on a ridge overlooking the Danube in Central Europe. Sounds nearly English-like as their native tongue has a similar cadence.

The Verdict: Can be a most pleasant surprise for listeners. Playing last month's South By Southwest festival just might provide the breakthrough they're looking for. If music from Iceland like Bjork and Sigur Ros connects with listeners, there's no reason Slavic soul music can't do the same. Truth, beauty, sadness, it's the Slavic way.

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