Somehow, someway, I missed this release last year by one of my favorite bands! I think I've struggled to enjoy their recent records as much due to a shift in direction and lack of evolution that's left one of the duo's most charming aspects, the singing of lyrics, in the dust. However going into this, their twelfth studio record, I was essentially prepared to embrace whatever it was. With that relinquish of expectation I found my self absorbed by the moody sombre beauty of their established sound once again.
With no surprises Scott Ferrell plucks out eight constructs of lavish instrumentation, all oozing in echos and reverberations. His shimmering guitars birth a luscious tropical darkness both beautiful and melancholy, a colorful sound that drifts into the pale. Driven along by soft but firm driving baselines and simple looping arrangements of cavernous drum patterns, the songs tend to exchange their complimenting sections back and forth before the run time concludes the song with no crescendo.
Singer Erin Welton lends her voice to the music more so as an instrument, singing just notes with a sweet and soft delicacy, coming in like a wind gusting through and fading back into the silence. Of course she is given a fair helping of reverb to achieve this ghostly yet beautiful tone. She tends to deploy melodies the likes of a synth would do, dropping on top of the instrumental with short notation loops to layer up the harmony. Their are occasions of experimentation and vocal dexterity but its mostly simple.
All the songs tend to echo the shades of previous songs as the formula has barely shifted and given the relatively simple song structures and lack of complexity the album really hinges on mood and atmosphere. To no surprise that is where they excel and so this record was warm and welcoming to dive into, getting exactly what you'd expect, an engrossing Ethereal feeling. I would still very much like to see them diversify and experiment but no complaints from me if this is all we get!