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Snowbird

Moon

(Pias America; US: 4 Feb 2014; UK: 27 Jan 2014)

With that band name, Snowbird, and that album title, Moon, it’s no wonder that the duo’s songs feel cast in a pale, cool light. Vocalist Stephanie Dosen and former member of Cocteau Twins Simon Raymonde crafted these songs together, and the two players’ aesthetics mesh seamlessly. These wide open compositions—from the rippling echoes of “I Heard the Owl Call My Name” to the gentle stillness of “Where Foxes Hide” and so on—are open fields for Dosen’s voice to wander through. And wander it does, a high, soaring thing that feels more like a strong wing on the breeze rather than the fleeting breeze itself.


It makes sense that guests such as Radiohead’s Ed O’Brien and Phil Selway would want to play on such sturdy yet impressionistic songs. These songs work best when you can feel the organic sounds under all the texture, especially on piano-heavy tracks like “Come to the Woods” and “We Carry White Mice”. Other moments, though, take perfectly intimate tunes like “In Lovely” and “All Wishes are Ghosts” and overwork them with studio treatments, washing everything in reverb and other effects that blur the tracks rather than enhance them. This is still a solid debut from a confident pair, one with room to grow into this sound, which is far tighter at its core than some of its gossamer layers might suggest.

Rating:

Matthew Fiander is a music critic for PopMatters and Prefix Magazine. He also writes fiction and his work has appeared in The Yalobusha Review. He received his M.F.A. in Creative Writing from UNC-Greensboro and currently teaches writing and literature at High Point University in High Point, NC. You can follow him on Twitter at @mattfiander.


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