Lite as Snow
“La da dee, la da da” indeed. What you’re looking at is a line from “Come to the Woods” off Snowbird’s recent debut album Moon. It’s also as good a synopsis of the album as you’re likely to find– pretty, but ultimately a little too lightweight for its own good.
Snowbird makes for an interesting band on paper. One half of the duo is Simon Raymonde, an instrumentalist known for the creative bent he showed as a member of the Cocteau Twins, a Scottish shoegaze outfit that found major UK success back in the ’90s. Snowbird’s vocals are supplied by Chemical Brothers and Massive Attack collaborator Stephanie Dosen.
With those two in mind, you’d expect Moon to be a professional, competently designed and performed album, which it absolutely is. The album contains absolutely no rough edges; Dosen’s voice is pitch-perfect and consistent, while Raymonde’s contributions are thoughtful and well-matched to the vocals.
So how does Moon still manage to be such a dull album?
Turns out those rough edges are absolutely vital for excitement. If you take an individual track of Moon and give it a listen, you’ll be entertained. Sit down and go through every track, and you’ll likely be bored before you hit the halfway point. There’s a spark to truly good albums entirely independent of technical ability, and Snowbird has yet to find it.
Moon is a difficult album to judge. It’s an impressive piece of work, but a remarkably unvarying one. Every song contains the same layered, floating vocals played over a complementary piano line. Surprising moments, like the flute found on “All Wishes are Ghosts” or the lovely, atmospheric backdrop of “Porcelain” do little to break the monotony. It’s undeniably easy to enjoy a Snowbird song, heck, it’s possible to enjoy every one on this debut offering, but things get tricky once casual appreciation fades. At the end of the day, this isn’t the sort of album that needs your full attention – in fact, it would likely suffer from it. It makes for gorgeous background music. Grab it, play it, and you’ll probably come out of the experience feeling a little happier. But if you’re after an album to sit down with and really get to know from start to finish…Moon probably isn’t what you’re looking for.