Holiday Shores have crafted a hazy memory with their latest LP, New Masses For Squaw Peak
; one that harkens back to an expired summer of chilled out electro-synth. The collection spans a consistent forty minutes of wandering tunes, careening in between many of the summer's hip preoccupations with lo-fi rock, shoegaze, and funky bass lines. With a proclivity for settling into multiple grooves and just as quickly spinning out of them, the album is a trip, to say the least.
As the album plays through, millions of refracted references come to mind. Holiday Shores take cues from both the odd-rock of The Flaming Lips and the smooth layers of Neon Indian and Toro Y Moi (and in many ways combine the two), making the album decidedly hard to place in one spectrum. Raw synthesizer noises and the click of a snare rim open it up in "Airglow", pulsating like a Yeasayer b-side remixed by someone who's been listening to a ton of Ariel Pink. Add a melody that seems to morph rather than grow or follow an arc, and you've got the general gist of the entire record; dynamic metamorphosis in lieu of tension and release. "We Couldn't Be Together" follows a pretty straightforward melodic map, but blink and you'll miss it, like a daydream in between torrential sound-pours.
When we get to "Squaw Peak", smack in the middle of the journey, it's a disjointed collection of aimless guitar noodling and treble-y bass guitar. Incongruous and almost peacefully serene, it's like the eye of the chaotic storm, a welcome break from the violent permutations of earlier movements. The second half of the record takes a psychedelic turn, initially like The Doors backwash, but then mutating into airy songs contained in ambient spaces. When the bass grooves return, the hidden arc of the record is a little clearer. Based on the whole journey, songs as a whole combine to create the lows and highs usually reserved for a single standalone track.
It's all a bit muffled, especially for the casual listener. But dig deeper, and the intricacies of the band's work pop in the strangest of places, making New Masses For Squaw Peak
a new-age adventure for ears everywhere...if they're willing to pay attention. Although this probably isn't music destined for the masses, it's an epic aural journey to new peaks.
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