Dreamland in B Minor
If a band only releases two studio albums in five years, they have to be pretty awesome albums to make an impact. Of course, Serena Maneesh have done this. S-M 2: Abyss in B Minor is the band’s first studio album since 2005’s self-titled effort. With S-M 2, the band has destroyed any preconceptions of them losing the passion of their first album after such a long absence between recordings.
“Ayisha Abyss” opens S-M 2 with haunting, unrecognizable sounds. Serena Maneesh have become a band that transport their listeners emotionally with ease, only to cut them back into the real world with a well-placed guitar riff. That is exactly what they have done here. Their audience is carried off into a haze of beautiful sound effects only to have it snatched from them playfully. As always with the band, layers have been utilized to bring massive depth to the piece. They create an enormous wall of sound that stands throughout the album until the final track.
Closer “Magdalena (Symphony #8)” is a peaceful track. The underlying flute brings the song together in a new direction for the band, and although it is soaked in reverb (a very Serena Maneesh tactic) they know when to let the music carry itself perfectly between verse and chorus. This is the diamond buried in the album, closing the composition brilliantly while still being valid as a standalone track. Serena Maneesh create their own distinctive brand of shoegaze with this album. Every track seems to transport the listener to a dreamy haze, into the Garden of Eden during a heavy shower. Many of the tracks seem influenced by the music of the early ’60s, full of bells and drifting rhythms that inspire images of peace, love and unity.
This may be a slight stretch from their typical output, but the band has done something truly wonderful yet again. They never seem out of their depth even when songs carry themselves from their destination. Serena Maneesh sit on the back of their compositions and let the tracks guide the way, leading to truly spectacular musical discoveries.