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Mellow folk duo Mandolin Orange does indeed rely on that particular instrument to compose its lush ballads, but just because the group’s name is a bit on the nose, it doesn’t mean its music is. To start, Andrew Marlin and Emily Frantz’s delicate picking immediately draws your ear in, creating a wall of sound so large it’s hard to believe only two instruments are creating it. The group’s songs also offer a bit more self-reflection: On “Old Ties and Companions,” from their latest album, Such Jubilee, Marlin sings, “Old man, give me endless time/Never let these ties sever,” begging for more moments to hold on to, even as time continues to pass. It makes for a slightly depressing listen—like similarly minded folk acts Nickel Creek and the Avett Brothers, Mandolin Orange doesn’t aim to create upbeat pop compositions—but their songs provide the perfect contrast to the sugary schlock that’s played all summer. With the Civil Wars on permanent hiatus, this is the dark note your current soundtrack requires. Mandolin Orange performs with Leif Vollebekk at 8:30 p.m. at the Hamilton, 600 F St. NW. $15–$20. (202) 787-1000. thehamiltondc.com.