Pure Phase Ensemble 4 is amazing. This project oozes with enough jangle and harmony to keep every listener within the fringes of Shoegaze and Dreampop happy, and there’s enough credit to make it a draw to those who enjoy that style of music, even without ever hearing a sample of the project. Mark Gardener from Ride, Ray Dickaty, an ex member of Spiritualized, and Karol Schwarz (KSAS), who manages Poland’s Nasiono Records front this version of the ever evolving Pure Phase Ensemble project, that pulls acts from various stellar indie bands with each new incarnation.
A very low-fi jangle of Post Punk guitars gives way to a fuller, dreamier song about 12 seconds in. However, the magic really happens when the ethereal vocals of Rebekkah Castellanos wash over the track. As things evolve, Cocteau Twins are the first band that comes to mind.
For those of you eagerly awaiting a new Slowdive record, this release may just tide you over! Pure Phase Ensemble is a collective of musicians including Ride frontman Mark Gardener (how refreshing to not have to say FORMER), Raymond Dickaty (a member of Spiritualized from 1997-2002), Jacek Rezner (Wilga), Kamil Hordyniec (Wilga), Michał Pydo (Hatifnats), Michał ‘Kostek’ Stolc (Cisza nocna) and Karol Schwarz (KSAS).
Hearts Of Black Science have a knack for layering, building from sparse guitars and subtle synths into harmonies of complex splendor. Ethereal, chilling vocals lead into what is essentially a lesson in aural world-building; by the end of my first listen I felt I had been transported into the moody, unnerving realm of its lyrics….palpable mistrust, doubt, and fledgling hopes all combine to create a panoply to showcase the talents of this fantastic Swedish mixed-genre band.
This last song from Star Horse is a new site favorite, with roots deep in the Shoegaze/Dreampop category. It’s a wonderfully blissed out mellow track, with vocals that feature ethereal female vocals for the verses, layered male/female harmornies for the chorus and perfectly fuzzed out, catchy guitar riffs.
This is a great uptempo new wave/dreampop track which provides a modern twist on a sound harkening back to the mid-1980s. This track appears to have been around in demo form since at least 2011, and we’re very glad that they included it on their new album which came out last month. The chiming guitars evoke both the nighttime fun and the bygone ’80s, while Rände Rännäli’s sparkling vocals fit the mood perfectly.
Well, now this is a surprise! Beach House, known for it’s dreamy, languid tunes apparently picked up some feedback pedals at the flea market. Their new single, Sparks, opens with some MBV-esque distortion before a squelch of guitar that wouldn’t be out of place on Smashing Pumpkins’ debut LP, Gish. When the dust settles, and…
Yesterday, 80’s icons a-Ha released the first single called ‘Under The Make-up’ off of their forthcoming album ‘Cast In Steel’. A tour is expected to accompany the new album. Singer Morten Harket’s voice is as good as ever on this melancholy track that reminds us a little of ‘Lifelines’. The synths and orchestration on this track are movie soundtrack beautiful and leave us anticipating what the rest of the album might sound like.
The track Cranekiss owes an obvious nod to Cocteau Twins but the driving beat also reminds me of Dream About Me for the now defunct Pains of Being Pure at Heart side project, The Depreciation Guild.
This is a nice retro trip, and although that is maybe becoming a cliche notion, this is NOT a look back at 80’s Synth. We are talking about the hazy, dreamy world New Wave/Goth vibe of Cocteau Twins, Bel Canto and The Cure. There are also more ethereal vocal vibes reminiscent of Julee Cruise, Tamaryn…