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- Goodbye New York Forever by Female Band
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Somewhat confusingly, Female Band is in fact the solo project of Russian born Anastasia Vtorova, who makes spooky, hypnotic minimal pop songs with lots of empty space. It’s more brooding and lo-fi than the minimal synthpop stuff offered by the equally-bafflingly-monikered solo project Group Rhoda a couple of weeks ago. Opener ‘Rain Song’ is just cyclical bass guitar and whispery vocals, and then ‘Mother and Clown Song’ introduces a distant, muddy drum machine pulse over which Vtorova drops more of her plaintive mumbles and bass throbs - apparently her friend Melissa Fu helped out with guitar and loops and backing vox on this one). Then ‘Ghost Song’ has some watery rippling processed sound loops which probably started out as bass over which she gently sings and plays a sparse, skeletal bassline for a distant, spook-pop drift session.
Flip it and we’ve got ‘Seattle Song’, once again with Fu in tow, with some sonorous twinkles, haunting backing vocals and psychedelic guitar burble, before closer ‘One Day the Sea, Will Swell’ offers the most uplifting cut of the selection with clanking rhythms that sound like she’s hitting pipes with spanners, hi-gain vocal whispers with metronomic ooh-ooh backups and a slowly building film of harsh guitar scree over the top but such sweet, simple melodies that it’s got a kind of redemptive driving-into-the-sunset sort of feel to it that’s utterly uplifting in a Dirty Beaches kind of way. It’s so skeletal that sometimes I feel like it loses its way a little bit, but the dark intensity of quietude is well explored here and when it works her hypnotic minimal lo-fi is affecting and haunting.
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