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'Heroes And Halos'   

-  Label: 'Saint Marie records'
-  Genre: 'Indie' -  Release Date: '1st April 2016'-  Catalogue No: 'SMR086'

Our Rating:
I know this album's title is a bit like Michael Monroe's recent release Horns and Haloes but trust me it sounds nothing like that one. Instead of high octane rock and roll this proffers downbeat, shoegazing dream pop from Portland Oregon.

The album opens with How I Love, a nicely enveloping song with cool repeating guitar parts and vocals reminiscent of Jenny Homer. Dum Dum is almost like Stevie Nicks if she'd tried to go shoegaze and doesn't quite pull it off. It's not bad but I find the chorus rather annoying.

Long Last Night has a slightly annoying snare drum that taps out the beat throughout as the guitars go off a bit and Kaitlyn Ni Donovan's vocals stretch higher and higher and sound lonelier and lonelier as they do.

Break A Heart sounds like it ought to be a country heartbreak song rather than a dream pop one. It's OK but I have to say I have heard far better break up songs. It's due for release almost at the same time as this album. Bells is okay and kind of keeps with the impression I get of this album being what used to be described as a one away record.

Heroes and Halos has some good reverb-y guitars and high Lush-style vocals but has nothing to make it more memorable and it kind of needs to be. Thankfully, Longitude has an insistent bass to anchor things to and keep me more interested as that sneaking suspicion that the songwriters really want to be making country music raises its head again. Indeed, this would sound far better as a country song than the dreamy shoegazer it is here.

Strangely, Ease On is about the best thing on the album and it's the first song with male vocals. Consequently, it sounds much more like Downy Mildew crossed with Slowdive and it's a really cool song and one of the only ones to really soar on this album. Ease On opens like a Magic Hour outtake and is a great opening that sort of dissipates as the vocals come in and go all dreamy on us. I really like this track musically.

Hearts In Our Throats is a very slow almost acoustic number to finish with as if they are ready to put us all to sleep. A calm conclusion to a not quite there one away album.

Find out more at Saint Marie Records online
  author: simonovitch

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HIGH VIOLETS, THE - Heroes And Halos