The opening track on Avey Tare’s solo foray, Down There, might bring to your mind strange images of dungeons and other things suited to medieval nights. However, his confident and heavily reverbed voice quickly assures the listener that Tare knows exactly what he is doing and where he wants to take his audience.
The album is a mélange of persistence; background beats, ominous chanting, and offbeat noises (listen to “Ghost of Books” for an astoundingly appropriate dripping tap effect). The title of the album itself might be referring to Tare’s vocals, thick and warped as if he were singing underwater, or to the darkness that seems to permeate throughout.
Thankfully, the track titles are clearer in revealing their nature—“Oliver Twist” is an upbeat, head-bouncing affair, while “Cemeteries” carries the subdual of a water funeral.
Those with weak knees for psychedelic and electronic music will be pleased with Tare’s seamless flow between songs and with his ability to infuse surrealism while paying attention to detail, particularly in “Heather In The Hospital.” It might help to add that Tare cites crocodiles as his main inspiration for the album—which means that the initial image of moats may not be completely out of place after all.
Twin Shadow’s first album Forget is better than good.
The album pedals through big songs with bigger choruses and even bigger drama, oozing an ‘80s sound similar to that of David Bowie and T. Rex-ish glam rock. This album is fresh as a first kiss. Fresh as a swim in polar waters. It is retro; it is electro; it is R&B; it is 2010 and not looking back.
There is not a dull track on this album. Standout tracks include “Castles In The Snow.” With lyrics like “You’re my favourite daydream/ I’m your famous nightmare/ Everything I see looks like gold/ Everything I touch turns cold/ Castles in the snow,” Twin Shadow is not just a musician; he is evidently a poet in his own right, twisting words to absolute perfection, mentioning things at all the right times. Other highlights include title track “Forget,” a slower digression from the rest of the album.
The album is a must listen, and then a much re-listen to catch all the sweet somethings that are not only going on lyrically, but musically, too. This is your fall soundtrack.
How to Dress Well
Love Remains is a fog of reverb that, at times, hides the most delicate R&B you’ll ever hear. Tom Krell’s falsetto pours soul into forty minutes of cold beauty on his first full-length record.
The album crackles and distorts, a characteristic of its recording space. Like his previous work, it was recorded in the student/musician’s bedroom in Cologne, Germany with almost no help.
“Ready For The World” right away shows the pull of Krell’s voice and his production skills. With manipulation of delay patterns to bleed through keyboard layers, he sculpts his own sound.
It’s really the undeniable groove of songs like “Lover’s Start” that make this album unique. I mean, Krell’s voice almost sounds like Justin Timberlake on a lo-fi demo – and it works. Most importantly, these are all good songs, and their execution makes Love Remains the record that it is. It’s an intimate and beautiful trip until it ends suddenly. The silence is deafening.
This article originally appeared in The Link Volume 31, Issue 11, published October 26, 2010.
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