Derek is responsible for the beats, though, and the beats complement Kristen’s centerpiece voice like a clean white tablecloth. They are dry and spare, assembling austere backdrops from out-of-the-box drum and organ sounds. The power of such artifice to bring out the human richness in Kristen’s voice is startlingly evident on the few tracks that use analog instruments; the harp on “Before That,” for example, drags the whole project down to the realm of the merely twee.
It turns out that real/really fake is a potent combination, and William Ingrid is at its best when it mines the contrast. There are chilly, beautiful pop songs in the Larsons’ repertoire. There are also mediocre indulgences, but in music as in marriage, it’s the wins that count.
William Ingrid plays the Palace Thu., Dec. 20, at 9 PM with The Turnoffs and Fancy Child. Free.