It’s December, and we’re STILL telling you about new stuff [single reviews]
Vesperteen – “Operate”: My, what a long way Vesperteen is from the days of “Obsess Possess” and “Feathers So Hollow!” I once would have pegged Vesperteen as a pensive pop artist with a side of partying and now I think I would, in the words of Willy Wonka, “strike that, reverse it.” The synth is strong here. Also, thematically the irony of having to dig deep into oneself to deal with pain, sung in a very euphoric, uplifting way isn’t lost on me. Perhaps it isn’t meant to be ironic, though. Perhaps the most painful processes in life have a silver lining, and we can find joy in the midst of suffering. And that, my friends, is worth celebrating. Crank this tune while you ponder that.
Fleurie – “Love Has No Limits”: It seems appropriate that this song was released during the holiday season, given the theme of love coming down to earth in the form of a fully human and fully divine child—the embodiment of the notion in the song’s title. This exploration of a song is for all the feelers out there. I definitely teared up a little listening. It’s like listening to a Sleeping at Last instrumental, with an airy vocal spin on it. The vocoder is an asset here, and not a gimmick. Gimmicks distract, assets add to. It reminds me of being a kid and listening to a New Age compilation disc a bit. Yeah, I was a weird one.
The Candescents – “Drink To Paradise”: There is something very classic in the sound of the latest single of Columbus, Ohio’s The Candescents. They’ve had a whirlwind year yet this song is executed with poise such that one would think cultivating hook-laden alt-rock is as natural as breathing. Plus, something about the term “There she goes” evokes a feeling of nostalgia in me. Word on the street is that there’s lots more to come from these dudes, who are right now are on their second tour with label-mates, Pale Waves.
Nemes – “60 Days”: “I only want to sing for you!” the protagonist declares in this poignant, loud song that isn’t quite a power ballad yet not really a full-on headbanger either. I may get some flak for writing this, but the feeling I get when listening to the main hook is in the same vein as hearing a Manchester Orchestra hook or a climatic moment of a Sigur Ros song. Now, with all due respect, Nemes isn’t nearly in the same genre as Sigur Ros. However, the emotional comparison is there.
MKNLY – “You Can’t Stay”: Watching this music took me back to 2004. The year Saosin’s “Voices” dominated the airwaves—and my iPod. I see a lot of parallels here. Both are songs aimed at the person navigating hardship and inner demons. Both are poignant, melancholy tracks that are loud enough to translate some of those low moments into bursts of euphoria, encouraging the struggling listener to hold on to those bursts—even when the foundation seems grim.