Donde Esta La BIBIOteca
2014 is a year without any real expectations as far as music goes. The Grammys are over and done with, championing what some people have already predicted. This definitely leaves room for a fresh start. Moody, ambient jams are something 2013 was trying to live down, with feel-good anthems masking over the (well-deserved) Justin Vernon infatuation of 2010-2012. The rain has returned with Stephen Wilkinson’s, AKA Bibio’s, brand of quirky pop, very much like his 2013 release, Silver Wilkinson. Dreamy and dramatic, Wilkinson’s latest, The Green EP, might just set the tone for this year. It’s time to get sad.
The album begins with “Dye the Water Green,” a swimmy, over-reverberated piece with lightly picked guitars, twinkly/chimey sounds and warbly synth. Actually, the cassette-style warble is sort of a theme throughout this album. A sense of nostalgia associated with the chillwave genre is heavily present in this release, without actually sounding like Neon Indian or Toro y Moi. “Down to the Sound” includes field recordings of rain and thunder. Wilkinson’s harmonies are tastefully haunting, like a worn Simon & Garfunkel record spun only on your birthday. You know, when everyone’s left your place and there’s still cake and it’s okay to cry. With headphones on, you can’t even hear yourself sobbing.
“A Thousand Syllables” starts off with gloomy, cinematic synths but eventually evolves into a sort of bossa nova/trip-hop cool-down. It’s like, your tears dried up and you realized, yes, there IS still cake, and you can enjoy it by yourself with no distractions. Sometimes you need a couple minutes of teen angst to realize you’re an adult and it’s okay to enjoy life.
The album ends strong with “The Spinney View of Hinkley Point,” which is hopeful and smart without being preachy. The light percussion, along with the bright guitar, is like stepping outside, still with cake in hand, and having the confidence to take on 2014. Bibio’s music is not only insightful, but it brings on levels of emotions without forcing them on you. He doesn’t hold your hand. He already knows how fragile humans have become. His music only makes us stronger.