Beach House – Depression Cherry Review

Baltimore’s Dream Pop master duo in Beach House have just released their fifth studio album Depression Cherry and the name really encapsulates the rich yet fading sounds they produce and it seems a likelihood that they will do the same again here. The days when their music was pushing the boundaries was back in 2010 and since then they have maintained a steady course on the same path. Their sound is not one that should be faulted by any means, it is just the fact they’ve struggled to move on from it or have become tied down to it and so it will be intriguing to see which direction they move in now.

‘Sparks’ is a single that develops the sounds featured on their 2012 album Bloom. The washed out and faded vocals of Victoria Legrand are torn through by a shredding guitar riff before embarking on the awkwardly meandering rhythms of the warping organs. This rhythm is then met with the highly wistful and echoed vocals with the occasional shred of a riff leading the song on and in general the more noticeable electronic injection the song has had is a little more welcome. They are masters of the Dream Pop genre and just demonstrate it here. ‘Beyond Love’ opens in a more minimised fashion with the simple, warped organs accentuated by the ringing lead guitar parts and as the whirring sounds build around it, a sort of tragic and sombre harmony develops from Victoria’s vocals. They remain wistful and optimistic in tone, but their echoed and faded filter replace it with a more hopeless and lonesome feel. The emotive feel that is generated from this simple alteration is very noticeable and clever on their part. Tracks such as ’10:37′ work in a similar fashion with the vocal instrumentation adding to the lucidity of the track amongst all of the faded elements.

‘Wildflower’ features those warped organs again as they’re joined by a drum sample and airy riff in what is almost a Dream Pop take on a late Marvin Gaye track. Those vocal sweeps are something that you never tire of even if the warping organs are. The album opener ‘Levitation’ is a little more typical with more chiming electronica working from a warped and whirring foundation, but despite this the subtle fruition of the songs sounds at it’s peak has an element of delicate awe and power to it. ‘Space Song’ is very similar to ‘Wildflower’ with it’s structure with a more prominent bass within it and a more isolated, pop-like vocal for this swooning ballad. This ballad style is taken to an almost church-like level with the closing track ‘Days of Candy’. The album remains a beautiful creation and sees Beach House as graceful and sonically fluid as ever, but this album is only half a step on from their previous work and it doesn’t have enough to be one of the great albums of the year when they really have the potential to make such an album. It is album for a specific mood. If you’re feeling reflective or heartbroken then this is the album for you, but there isn’t much engagement beyond that.

Beach House – Depression Cherry = 8/10

Owen Riddle @oriddleo1995

Single Review – Beach House – Sparks

The Baltimore Dream Pop duo that is Beach House return with a new single from their upcoming fifth studio album Depression Cherry which is expected on August 28th. ‘Sparks’ is that single and it is another development on the sounds featured on their 2012 album Bloom. The washed out and faded vocals of Victoria Legrand are torn through by a shredding guitar riff before embarking on the awkwardly meandering rhythms of the warping organs. This rhythm is then met with the highly wistful and echoed vocals with the occasional shred of a riff leading the song on. They are masters of the Dream Pop genre and just demonstrate it here.

Owen Riddle @oriddleo1995

NuBorg Q+A

NuBorg has kindly answered some questions for me about her influences, her take on the Oslo and London music scenes and about the process of making her new album.

Where did the name NuBorg come from?

NuBorg is derived from my last name which is Nyborg, in Norwegian it means New Castle, hence Nu, and Borg

How would you describe your sound?

It is an atmospheric ambient sound; quite heavy rhythms but with room for silence in between the slow beat, many layers of ambient guitar and effects, and slightly wispy vocals on top.

What are the main influences to your sound?

I’m influenced by many dramatic things that have happened in my life, and by all kinds of sounds; silence, the beating of the heart, the waves from the ocean. I listen to many different genres of music, but I guess you could say that this project is especially influenced by artists like Massive Attack, Portishead, the Beatles, and Ultravox, among others.

What was the experience of making an album like?

Making this album has been an extraordinary journey and I have met so many inspiring and wonderful people along the way, in Norway, England, Spain and the Czech Republic. All the way from the earliest preparations, studying vocal techniques, music production and songwriting, to rehearsals and studio work. I ended up mixing and producing the album together with producer Odd Jensen which was almost the best part of it all.

Who did you work with to create your album?

Producer is Odd Jensen from Waterfall Music. Odd is also a songwriter and wrote a song for Ronan Keating’s last album. He has co-written one of the songs on this album with me. Bjørn Charles Dreyer contributes on guitars. Bjørn has played with artists like Lene Marlin. Marius Reksjø on bass is one of the founders of Beady Belle. Erland Dahlen on drums/percussion used to be with Madrugada, and Gildas Le Pape on solo guitar has been with the black metal band Satyricon for a number of years. Some of the songs are co-written with English songwriters: Christopher Neil, co-founder of Mike and the Mechanics and producer for artists like Celine Dion, Cher, A-ha and Marillion; Martin Sutton who has written songs for the Backstreet Boys and LeeAnn Rimes; Ron Roker who has worked with artists like Tina Charles; and Odd Jensen, Sarah McLellan, Daisy Manners, Rick Norton, and Andy Pearce.

How would you compare Oslo’s music scene to that of London?

There’s lots going on in Oslo, it’s a vibrant music scene. I guess it tends to be more towards alternative, jazzy, electronic music and not so much based on classical songwriting. In that way this project is probably more influenced by my many stays in London over the years, as the songs in this project are based on the classical song form, although with modifications.

What is ‘Away With the Fairies’ about musically and lyrically?

It describes the frustration when you have been subject to a misunderstanding, having been preoccupied and not paid enough attention to what you should have. Not because you didn’t care, but because you were very busy doing something else… hoping to get accept for that but realizing you are not getting the accept you hoped for… You were away with the fairies… and didn’t realize what was happening around you.

What are your live performances like?

This project has just been launched and we are actually preparing our first gig now. We will be focusing on the ambient sound and lights. I have ideas about some audiovisual effects especially for some of the songs and will be working on that.

Do you have a favourite venue or a place that you would like to perform?

Anywhere is good as long as the room is large enough for the sound to float freely and there is a chance for proper stage lights and projections behind the musicians on the scene.

What is next for NuBorg?

In the coming months we will be releasing one song on the 15. of every month and as for now that is where our focus is. In the end it will make up a full album. In the long run I am hoping to be able to continue working on creating music both in the studio and live, and continue to meet gifted, creative people like I have done in the making of Sliding Off the Edge Of the World.

Thank you to NuBorg for the answers!

Single Review – NuBorg – Away With The Fairies

NuBorg is an intriguing new talent from Oslo in Norway which is led by singer/songwriter Gunhild Nyborg who is also based in London. She is described as the new sound of ambience and it is a bold statement for sure, yet it is one that they have set upon completely and it will get people thinking. There has only been two tracks so far but they live up to this statement with wholeheartedness too as she works towards the release of her debut album later this year. Her second track is entitled ‘Away With The Fairies’ and it is a song that embarks on a rollercoaster of moods and atmospheres as it opens with echoed instrumentals around the a heart like beat. The vocals are wonderfully isolated and separate from the mild instrumentals and they immediately grab your attention and pulls focus onto the lyrics as well. The song coolly and calmly progresses with a gradual building up of sounds and the vocals adapt to them precisely and guides the sound into fruition with a screeching and shredding guitar solo that shatters the gentle and eerie atmosphere before fading back out in such a fashion after that powerful moment. It is difficult to pin point a certain sound to them but Kate Bush is one that comes to mind for sure and I’m certain that NuBorg can go from strength to strength with each set of new material that is released. Someone you should really check out and keep an eye on this year.

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