Relationships are a significant driving force in much of what appears here on this website. Trusted record labels and artists who've previously shown appreciation for detailed analysis on recorded music meaningful to them are prioritized. Finding new composers and their unheard works within that framework will always continue to expand this overall field. Finally, losing a four-legged family member is heartbreaking, and celebrating the life-affirming years spent together is the best way to honor them.
There never seems to be too much time passing before another ShoreDive Records release finds it's way into the DaveCromwellWrites reviewing sphere. The independent Brighton, England based label provides a continuous supply of high-quality dreampop, gaze, electronica, post-rock and post-punk releases. Recently landing in the DCW mailbox is a six-song mini-album debut from Lyon, France residents Lunation Fall. Titling the collection “Near,” their mission to blend melancholic dreampop and explosive noise is fully achieved here.
Opening track “Sweet Misery” originates via a rising hum before whip-crack drums and pitch-bended guitars mark out a four-chord progression nodding to all the glory MBV has given us. Sweet, fuzzy, angelic voices roll out those incomprehensible stories we've come to know and love within this genre. Its far more about “feel” than anything actually being said. While the guitars and voices envelope the listener in a candy-floss cocoon, impressive drum accents stand out, with a piercing high-hat slice foremost amongst them. At the 2 minute mark, the guitars turn a bit harsher, bringing to mind the edgy-chaos of William Reid and The Jesus and Mary Chain.
Follow-up cut “Aube” switches gears, choosing gentle arpeggiated guitar notes for it's extended :30 second intro. The presence of bass guitar is more clearly felt with the emergence of this gloriously romantic melody line. With high-hat percussion shifting to double-time, a soft, sugary vocal line of blended voices encourage the shelter of warm memories. A lovely ambient interlude breakdown at 3 ½ minutes in allows for a triumphant re-emergence of gazey goodness. Conversely, “Precious Time” serves up classic cleanly strummed jangle guitars which allows the bass to lay down it's melody progression. Male voices step out front somewhat in the blended hybrid of storytelling, sketching out a track that would not be out of place on the pre-Loveless MBV classic “Isn't Anything.”
“Mercury” adjusts the guitar textures further, adding a level of shimmer and distortion to the overall melange. Dreamy female voices take precedence with a similar allure one might find on a number of Ringo Deathstarr songs. Once again, bass guitar embraces the opportunity to make melodic statements as guitars hold chord structures in place. All goes momentarily quiet at the midpoint, allowing for a re-assembly of each element in dramatic detail. Buzzsaw guitars bring this powerful track to it's conclusion.
All that's dream-gazey glory is wrapped in the fifth entry “Reflections.” A quick crash-cymbal and deep thump percussion sets the table for massive detonation guitar sonic reverie. The progression is slow-groove shuffle, as voices blend in supple harmony. A quick time change ramps things up to hyperspeed, as playful melodies become the immediate vocal focus. Time shifts again, this time down into a stoner-rock lumber, providing fertile ground for harsher guitars and softer voices. With the quick progression returning one more time, a furious guitar solo leads the track out to it's conclusion.
Album closer (and longest track at over 6 minutes) “Mydriasis” accentuates a glimmering, uplifting progression with melodic bass guitar figures (think The Cocteau Twins Simon Raymonde or even Peter Hook from the original Joy Division and New Order) and lively drumming. Male vocals take the lead here with straightforward, unadorned resolve. This mostly instrumental composition rises, ebbs and then rises again for a pure dreamscape experience and a fitting ending to this gorgeous song collection.
Listen to and find out how to get this dreamy record here: