Wednesday, April 19, 2023

Copious Evaluation of New Audio and Video Releases

April is a month of new beginnings with the springtime bloom ushering in a promise of another great summer to come. As all that unfolds, DaveCromwellWrites continues it's quest in uncovering the best of new emerging musical artists. This time friends old and new share space here in this digital realm of sonic evaluation. Deep listening and observant viewing is – as always – the prime directive.

There's been a fair amount of anticipation surrounding the latest album release from inscrutable west-coast duo Lunar Twin. Initially promised earlier on, a selection of choice advance singles would have to do until the full-length arrived. Now that “Aurora” is finally here, the DCW track-by-track deep dive commences in earnest. A recent review of the album's lead track “Beyond The Sun” can be found here. What follows below are similar breakdowns of the remaining nine tracks from the two songwriters, vocalist Bryce Boudreau and instrumentalist Christopher Murphy.

Deep synth rushes introduce “Cars,” then continue panning across the audio field as the familiar Bryce hushed-vocal-rasp commences. “Driving away – driving alone” is stated over a steady 80's feel dance rhythm of bass and percussion. A tasty instrumental-lead lick stands out in enhanced form, midway through and on the outro. The second previous advance track “Android Dreams” (released at the end of last year) emerges out of throbbing bass pulses and swelling synth waves. Keeping instrumentation sparse, percussion manages to move from busy to less so, with great dramatic effect. In this current age of rapid AI development, the thematic vocal musings (“humans seem to think – nothing seems to phase you”) couldn't be more timely.

Check out the video for it here:

Can't Stop the Rain” begins with long-held keyboard pads in slow moving progression underneath emphatic vocal recitation. Livelier guitar chords and tom-heavy percussion add a more organic feel and motion to the proceedings. Bold, buzzy synths commence at the midway point, adding one more appealing instrumental element. “Traveler” benefits from a cascading ambient texture, creating the sonic equivalent of a vertical downward fall. Percussion is buoyant and clacketty, providing an essential counterpoint to the forward-marching bass guitar progression. Vocal lines “I disappear every time in the dark” and “too far from the light” suggests this references astral rather than physical travel.

Somber, moody synths provide initial backdrop for the hushed vocals on “Night Orchid.” A chillwave, trip-hop level percussion track establishes underlying movement for this cerebral meditation. The more upbeat “Dark, Dark Wave” returns to guitar as the primary instrumental building block. An unusual higher-pitched texture adds fresh audio perspective on this relative to the darker contributions of The Cure and Bauhaus. A reverberated descending guitar pattern marks out the basis for the mysterious “Shadow Language.” Over synth swells and a synthetic beat, lyrics “I can't make sense of it – in this wilderness,” drives home the enigmatic mood.

Silver Strand” is a two-minute meditation built around an off-kilter melody-texture, start-stop percussion and a dream-like sentiment stating “by the light of the moon – I saw – silver strand.” Buzzing synths and chiming bell patterns flood the sonic waves of final track “A River Cuts Through Stone.” Commencing vocals “shipwrecked on the shore, you got what you came here for” and “you can't turn around, you can't turn away” suggest erosion formations of centuries gone by.

Check out this wonderfully mysterious album here:

Previous reviews of Lunar Twin can be found on this site Here, HereHere, Here, Here and Here.

Follow the band on their Social Media - Facebook - Instagram - Bandcamp

*  *  *  *  *

Weekly notifications over the last month has made this site aware of a Pennsylvania based band with the curious name Smooth Retsina Glow. Always needing to know what a word previously unaware of means, an investigation followed. Apparently “retsina” references a Greek wine flavored with resin. That knowledge now secured away in memory, attention turned to this bands musical output. With an album titled “Gemini Reign” due out this summer, two tracks have been released in advance. An analysis of both follow below.

While the band is helmed by singer-songwriter and virtuoso guitarist Colin Wolf (with Brian Derkas on drums and Jacob Wolfe on bass), essential member Sarah Stoll (who also plays rhythm guitar) takes the star turn on first single release “Overcoming.” Enhanced by the visually appealing, accompanying video, Colin's lyrics are delivered in a sweet and alluring manner by the combined wholesome-yet-rock-and-roll looking female vocalist. Thematically, the spirit of the track suggests a return to moral or general well-being. “I'm overcoming by deepest fear - I'm finally whole and intact. I'm overcoming what wasn't clear, and I know I'm never slipping back,” is how the Chorus goes. In addition to Sarah's twinkling presence (highlighted eye accents, jewelry piercing, red lips, large hoop earrings), Colin takes the bridge section vocals inside of a clever staircase visual shot. That's followed by a tasty guitar solo that brings to mind Peter Frampton's sound on his legendary “Comes Alive” album.

Check out this captivating song and video here:

Recently released follow up “Bound By Desire” is a distinctive shift from the prior track, building around a chunky funk groove. The interplay between guitar, bass and the drums is delivered with a feel and precision one would expect from this type of rhythmic endeavor. As video imagery shows a welcoming tavern and the variety of games you can play inside there (video, traditional billiards), Colin takes the lead vocals here. Expanding on the “gaming” theme he sings “I settle bets on a roll of dice” while images of darts find the bullseye on the board. Cool shots of the band playing in a corner of the bar are accentuated by an eye-catching green bass guitar and the game of pool continuing on. The chorus drives home what's at stake, as Colin sings “No time to falter , feel tight or freeze, cause I know I'm surely going to receive.” As hoped for, a blistering guitar solo arrives, displaying Colin's skill and authority on that instrument.

Dig in to this wicked cool song and video here:

Follow along with the emerging SRG adventure on their Socials as well - Facebook - Instagram

*  *  *  *  *