A Personal Extension
Infinite Avenue is Carmen Villain’s second album, following her debut album, Sleeper, in 2013. Under record label Smalltown Supersound, Villain created this album on her own, writing, recording and producing each of the songs. The overall sound of the album is ethereal and soft but with an edge that is almost haunting at times — a sound that may be intriguing to fans of Beach House. These ten tracks are each extremely personal to Villain and are an extension of who she is as an artist, a person and a storyteller.
The album kicks off with the title track, “Infinite Avenue.” The song is filled with soft guitar strums and Villain’s organic, echoing vocals; a sampling platter to give listeners a taste of what to expect from the album. “Red Desert” is slightly more musically complex, featuring drum, synth and a wider vocal range. The following track, “Simple Things,” stands at less than two minutes in length. The song starts in silence and slowly builds to echoing guitar chords and quiet vocalizations before fading again to nothing, much like an interlude. The next song, “Quietly,” is a stark change. It initially sounds like the beginning of a soft ‘90s rock anthem before the vocals kick in. Unlike the first three tracks, “Quietly” is haunting and angsty, showcasing a different side to Villain’s artistry. The track ends in simple guitar for the last 30 seconds, almost as if giving listeners time to process what they have just heard.
“Borders” features lyrics and vocals of Jenny Hval as well as an experimental sound. Drum beats are strong and exploratory whispering can be heard at certain points in the track. The vocals are loud, yet the harmonies are powerful. In these ways, “Borders” is a stand-out track on the album. Whether it stands out positively or negatively depends on listeners’ interpretations and tastes. A hauntingly beautiful piano plays throughout “She’s Gone to California” and almost overpowers Villain’s vocals at times. The next three tracks, “Connected,” “The Moon Will Always Be There” and “Water” stay true to Villain’s smooth and melancholy sound from the rest of the album. The final track, “Planetarium” is very slow and elegiac; it serves as a soft conclusion and farewell to the album.
This album highlights Villain’s stories, thoughts and experiences. Even if not knowing Villain personally or even knowing much about her, listeners will be able to feel a rich connection to her throughout the 37 minutes of Infinite Avenue. Not only is she an artist, but she is a storyteller with the potential to tell more.