On White Light Strobing, Desolation Wilderness is aiming for the haze of cold and early mornings, the gauzy fuzz of late afternoons in the summer. They’re aiming for the places where one thing bleeds slowly into another, mining ground well traveled by the likes of Galaxie 500 and Low. And if they’re looking to sound like those bands, they succeeded. The guitar sounds are blissed out and thick with echo. The vocals a distant throb on most tracks rather than a clear voice. The band moves along as one fuzzy unit, just coasting across the length of the album. But, unfortunately, there’s a difference between sounding like the bands they follow and achieving the same successes. Though Desolation Wilderness can make intricately dreamy sounds, and by their name they seem to be very aware of the mood they’re trying for, the songs behind those sounds lack any distinction. Once the warmth of the track burns off, there’s no melody behind it to stick with you. So while the twangy lead on “Forget Everything” draws you in, it ultimately lets you down because it doesn’t give way to something more interesting. The sound of White Light Strobing is always pleasant, it is rarely forgettable. In going for a blur of reverie on this album, the band comes closer to a smudge.
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// Notes from the Road
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