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Htrk mint their N & J Blueberries label with a startling 5th studio album, finding the duo stripped to a quietly cathartic quintessence of heartbreaking vocals and spectral webs of guitar in a modern, classic and wholly inimitable style. Recorded in their native Dandenong Ranges, Australia, during April-May 2021, ‘Rhinestones’ contains some of Htrk’s most aching/gratifying songwriting secreted in subtly plangent sheets of dubbed guitar, synth pads and ember crackling 808s. It’s an album that seems to have been precision-tooled for tortured romantics and atomised souls, reverberating with a gentle pathos and unfurling at an effortless pace that’s practically therapeutic. Distilling their form of lowkey emotional manipulations to a fine art, the metaphysical soul of their songcraft somehow bleeds out more clearly than ever, infusing every song from the heartbreak pucker of ‘Kiss Kiss and Rhinestones’ to the intoxicating, spirit-catcher sway of ‘Gilbert and George’ with the tumescent glow of MDMA-tingled flesh and the uncanniest air of déjà vu. All nine songs land like a salve to the senses with a microdosed sensitivity that reveals every shimmering string, pad and echoic snare contrail like a halo around Jonnine’s incredible vocals, which regale tales of love and the mysteries of the night with an observant, diaristic directness that has an unshakeable emotive clout.