Taking the senses on a glide through ethereal realms and ruminations, Melt is the fourth album from US duo WHIMSICAL. As proven by their previous offerings, the band’s shoegaze, indie rock and dream pop infused sound has been a rich draw for ears meaning eager anticipation accompanied our exploration of their new release.
Northwest Indiana hailing, Whimsical emerged in 1999 and swiftly Krissy Vanderwoude and Neil Burkdoll hooked keen attention with their magnetic sound. Since, after a ten year absence, reforming in 2015 a new richest in creativity and success has blossomed as potently revealed by second album Sleep to Dream in 2017 and further again two years later within Bright Smiles & Broken Hearts. By the release the pair has found new aspects and imagination in their creativity, an adventure which again has grown within the quickly compelling Melt.
It is a record which takes the imagination through gossamer veils and crystalline reflections to ethereally woven places, their beauty echoed and escalated in Vanderwoude’s diaphanous tones. Yet it is a united beauty aligned to the captivation of shadows amidst crepuscular contemplation cast by Burkdoll’s rock nurtured guitar weaves. It all makes for a collection of songs which seduce yet equally incite with a kind of sonic rawness providing a provocative alternative of emotion and temptation.
Rewind opens up the release and instantly gripped ears with its flush of angular guitar and an electronic pulsation as lively as it is nagging. It is a rapacious beginning only increasing its persistence as Vanderwoude’s angelic tones stroll amongst the sonic strands, athletic rhythms adding to the track’s brightly impressing animation and fertility.
It is an outstanding start which firmly had attention and appetite hooked and Gravity was in no mood to relinquish the album’s grip. It too has an eager almost clamorous breath in its lungs yet equally has an inherent beauty in its melodic spirit and those siren-esque vocals. There is also a courtship of nineties alt/psych/indie rock to the two tracks which sparked thoughts of artists such as House Of Love and Saint Etienne but flavours in WHIMSICAL’S undeniable individuality.
The tenebrific bassline drawing Take All of Me into view burrowed into attention as deeply as the song itself; its incandescent radiance and emotive elegance swiftly courting and haunting the imagination. It a melodic bewitchment matched by the even more intimate and evocatively mellow Melting Hearts. The words and voice of Vanderwoude enthralled as ever and again Burkdoll embraces both with a delicate sound yet again one bearing organic tempestuousness; a dexterity by now expected in a track as firmly distinct to its companions as the record is to other shoegaze/indie rock bred proposals.
With the fiery rock ‘n’ roll of Crash and Burn a contagious searing of the senses and Just a Dream physically and lyrically seducing the same, Melt only tightened its hold, Searching adding its persuasion with atmospheric and soulful charm. Again within the inherent beauty of the band’s music there is an instinctive noise lit tension to the song, indeed all tracks, which lures greater drama and temptation out their hearts.
The final pair of Quicksand and Feather epitomise that craft and tempting, the first a caliginous proposal with its own beacon of hope and melodic light within shadows while its successor presents and evoked a rich emotive bond between the track’s poignant and uplifting soul and its recipient’s ears and personal thoughts.
It is a captivating and compelling close to a just as majestic yet impassioned and often gritty release. Melt is a joy which only grew by the listen with a sound which is elegant and seductive but equally dramatic and sonically hungry so over to you….
Melt is out June 3rd via Shelflife Records (USA) and Through Love Records (Germany) on two limited colour vinyl editions, classic black vinyl, CD, and digitally; available @ https://whimsical1.bandcamp.com/album/melt and https://shop.throughloverec.com/products/whimsical-melt for Europe and the UK.
Pete RingMaster 19/05/2022
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