In 2011, Damon & Naomi celebrate their 25th year as performers together, and nothing displays that celebratory spirit more than False Beats and True Hearts, their first album of new recordings in four years. An record of lush possibility and depth, False Beats and True Hearts fuses the skill of music veterans with the fervor of artists continuing to create at the top of their craft. With the reissue of the first Damon & Naomi record (More Sad Hits), a retrospective of their mid-career highlights (The Sub Pop Years), and, perhaps most notably, rereleases of all three seminal Galaxie 500 albums, there’s been a lot of looking back. It’s therefore appropriate that the first song off False Beats and True Hearts is “Walking Backwards,” an ode to the joy of nostalgia and warmth of reflection. The song, and indeed, much of the album, is cross-stitched by Michio Kurihara’s elegant guitar playing—a thick and resonating psych sound that has been a part of Damon & Naomi’s music since their collaboration with the Japanese band Ghost. The album is unexpectedly upbeat and strident; while lyrics portray true introspection, the melodies are ambitious and far-reaching. Naomi’s new passion for piano playing circles the album like a starry night, capturing the vitality found in the finest Plastic Ono Band recordings. Like their best material, it’s the sincerity and necessity of their expression that is the most striking. With False Beats and True Hearts, Damon & Naomi offer an essential document of what brings listeners to music in the first place: emotion, identification and beauty.