Wages’ “Super Perfect Dreams” is a classic album closer. Its atmosphere is a denouement, steady guitars and clicking drums carrying vocalist Nick Byron Campbell’s shrill falsetto over oceans of space. It’s the kind of sound easily (and appropriately) described as “crystalline”, casually undulating melody and harmony conjuring images of cosmic seas or technicolor caverns. The song is a wonderfully spacey end to a wonderful album, a “super perfect dream” in its most lucid sense.
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Forebear makes mountainous indie rock, a wildly crescendoing and decrescendoing style that’s reminiscent of a mix between classic Hollywood soundtracks and straight-ahead guitar-heavy stuff a la Surfer Blood. “Luck of the Draw” starts and stops without warning, lunging forward with reckless abandon as a cool guitar chunks away behind pained vocals. Lugubrious strings pin up a mournful chorus, male and female vocals duetting as the guitar jangles and the drums thud mutely. It’s drab in the best way, the kind of blasé rock which belies real sadness and anger below.
Sean McVerry makes sultry blue-eyed soul, a more emphatic and instrumental take on Sam Smith’s chart-topping material. Hourglass Switchboard 2 is about halfway between Smith and The 1975’s energetic pop-rock, part downtempo electronic pop and part crisp guitars. It’s a surprisingly underexplored combination, given the popularity and quality of the two styles, but given McVerry’s adept take it’s nearly inevitable more musicians will follow in the future. If you’re looking for suave, serene pop-rock to carry you through the rest of your Monday, Hourglass Switchboard 2 is your best bet.
Minor Soul‘s “One Chance” is sheet-smooth bedroom pop, acoustic guitars and plinking synths soaring under the vocals. It’s of a fairly polarizing genre, but the genre is pristine when done right, and “One Chance” is a good example of what happens when every facet gleams. Its hopeful, upward-facing ethos is a pleasant reminder that music doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom, a sugar-intensive shot of positivity in a style best known for that kind of purity.
Cheshires’ draw is the way they put their own spins on tried-and-true classic rock, tweaking psychedelic and rootsy music into their own versions. “Love This Feelin’” skews closer to the former, rambling psych dustiness taking center stage. Guitars wail, voice meanders, and the song ambles along the path of synth-heavy psychedelic goodness. It’s a style that’s been done a lot, but it’s also one that still hasn’t gotten old, and “Love This Feelin’” is proof enough of that.