Recorded using a ten pound microphone they found at a flea market, Death and Vanilla have, on this their third album, really captured the sights, the sounds, the smells of all the best bits of late '60s/early '70s dreamy pop. Their sound is woozy, evocative and blatantly in thrall to the kaleidoscopic sounds of Broadcast, the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, Mazzy Star and 60's sci-fi soundtracks. It's beautifully listenable; a veritable tapestry of warm sounds to soothe and refresh. Their previous records have been popular but this could send them into the stratosphere. We'll have the indies-only orange vinyl version ahead of official release so get to the front of the queue.
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Death and Vanilla are pretty close to being the perfect band for those who worship the ‘60’s exotic electronica that so influenced the music of Broadcast. Opener ‘Necessary Distortion’ sets out it’s stall pretty clearly -a pulsating, kraut jam which sits perfectly in that sweet spot between Silver Apples and the United States of America. If this swirling four minutes of candy pop perfection floats your boat then you are going to be like a child in a sweet shop when you discover the various other flavours contained within these grooves. ‘The Optic Nerve’ slows things down -a hazy sweep of warm textures and bell-like atmospheres that evokes the pastoral drift of previous movers in this genre such as Adventures in Stereo and the New Lines.
Despite the distinct influences at play, their palette is varied. ‘Arcana’ is gorgeous underwater soft pop somewhere between Mazzy Star and American Spring with gorgeous floating harmonies slowly ebbing out of sight towards its fade. In fact, the ghost of Brian Wilson lurks even clearer in the eerie West Coast flutter of ‘Time Travel’ which sounds somewhat like ‘Pet Sounds’ made on vintage synths.
The all pervading influence of Broadcast is everywhere on this record but its no tribute act (though the skyscraping 'Follow the Light' comes close). They have the same approach to analogue production styles and their melodies seem to be caught on the wind having drifted in from some distant time and place. Many modern day production techniques hurt my ears with their shrillness and use treble and compression. This album (allegedly recorded on a ten pound microphone) seems to be imbibed with 1960’s dust leaving a sound which is warm, fuzzy and very, very listenable.
A fine record throughout and if you’ve not as yet been snared into their multi-layered melodicisms this is a good a place as any to start.
9/10 Dann Queralt Baiges 31st May 2015
These do not fail... Great album! Following the line of his discography, surprise us again with his new job and third album "To Where The Wild Things Are ......" Death and Vanilla use vintage musical equipment such as vibraphone, organ, mellotron, tremolo guitar and Moog, to emulate the sounds of 60s/70s soundtracks, library music, German Krautrock, French Ye-ye pop and 60s psych. This Swedes will not leave you indifferent, That is clear, another album to enjoy as your ears deserve. My best wishes for this band!
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