Recalling the sly intimacy of Lou Reed and Maureen Tucker during their quieter moments, the duo of Jared Flamm and Kala Savage provides the serene poetry that makes this Biirdie fly. Though the dreamy, dusty songs on Morning Kills the Dark are colored by an array of instruments -- rich piano, minimal percussion, wavy synths, subtle electronic whispers -- and additional vocals by third man Richard Gowen, it's the closeness of their intertwined voices on bojangling pop suites like "You've Got Darkness" and "The Other Side of Sunset" that lingers after the music fades.

In the midst of playfully baroque musical arrangements and saccharine harmonies, Biirdie would be ironic if it weren't so earnest, introverted if it weren't so yearning. In the end, what emerges is achingly tender, fleetingly psychedelic chamber pop, informed as much by Wilco and Yo La Tengo as the lighter side of the Velvets. With a title that reads exactly like the music sounds, Morning Kills the Dark is both the cozy night-light and the furtive darkness around it.

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