First Song For Your Mixtape
Soundscapes, walls of sound and neverending reverb seem to be trending more and more across the blogosphere and indie music in general. With more dream-pop groups sprouting up, the all-encompassing, drowsy sound of yesteryear is making a comeback harder than ever– whether it’s intentional or not. Los Angeles indie pop outfit Western Lows’ debut release, Glacial, is another addition to the ever-growing library of super moody, yet well-crafted, pop music.
“Grapevines” kicks off the album with a Smiths/Cure-ish slowdance waiting to happen. The carefully strummed guitars and simple drum beat echo… well… Echo and the Bunnymen and other ’80s loner kid staples.
Songs like “Last Known Rivers” and I Will” are excellent examples of late ’80s/early ’90s alt rock like Ride and Mazzy Star. The deep, Ian Curtis-like crooning doesn’t so much put the listener to sleep, but rather lulls them into a dream.
“Icicles,” the album’s first single, is, undeniably, a love letter to The Cure. The vocals are sleepy and broken like Robert Smith’s, while the guitars are being fed heavy doses of chorus and delay. This could have been on everyone’s post-breakup mixtape if it were recorded in 1987.
“Tall Glass Church” is a total send-up to Jesus and Mary Chain, a loud, reverby wall of sound. It screams “Just Like Honey” and will put anyone in a heartbreak-induced coma, giving the listener enough time to wallow and absorb the track.
Glacial is the kind of album that belongs on a tape label. With so many of them sprouting up these days, it would be a great service to Western Lows and their fans to have the warm, warbly sound of cassette delivering the chilling, sad pop of the ’80s. Of course, the quality of Glaciali s due to it being a culmination of the band’s knowledge of good alt rock.