Opal Collection is the new vinyl LP from Maston. Continuing the current dream-psyche-indie-rock vibes, Opal Collection is akin to the likes of Real Estate and Mac DeMarco. Think guitars drenched in reverb and lyrics brimming with nostalgia, OC will whisk you away to the west coast in the summer time. Out on Stroll on and limited to 300 copies.
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Frank Maston's debut album 'Shadows', which came out on Trouble in Mind last year, quickly propelled him from complete unknown to office favourite with its perfectly balanced mixture of wistful psychedelic pop and haunted atmospherics, and he's back on my review pile this morning with 'Opal Collection', which isn't so much a follow-up as a handy story-so-far anthology of pre-'Shadows' material culled from two EPs which originally came out on cassette, plus a couple of previously unreleased tracks from those sessions.
Side A has his 2011 debut EP 'Opal' in its entirety, with his sound surprisingly assured and fully formed even at this point. It's full of sleepy guitar twangs and wibbling organs and shuffling little rhythms in dreamy and understated little pop songs and instrumentals. On the other side are a mixture of songs from second EP 'Voyages' and unreleased tracks, which opens with a spooky Shadows-meets-Joe Meek instrumental 'The Companion', full of reverbed guitars and eerie wibbles and a ghostly '50s flavour, I can imagine it ringing out in the haunted dancehall in the hotel from The Shining.
The track which follows it, 'Pontemkin', takes this dream-like aesthetic into breezy slacker pop territory with an easy Real Estate-ish groove and feather-light Candy Claws-ish tones. Interestingly this is one of the unreleased numbers and yet is probably my highlight of the album. The music on the entire LP tends to veer between these two modes of warm psychedelic pop and eerie wibbly lounge-surf instrumentals, as 'Shadows' does, but there's more emphasis on the instrumentals this time around with the split being relatively even. If you've not heard Maston before I'd recommend picking up 'Shadows' first, but if you're a fan of that album then this is similarly dreamy.
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