An unusual album this one. Cross Record are husband and wife and Dan. Moving from Chicago to Texas, they found themselves working 60-hour weeks, hopping between working at supermarkets, restaurants and nannying. That’s the backstory to what went into the making of Wabi Sabi. It’s an album of ethereal beauty, slightly unsettling in its stillness and calm, only for it to rip open with some heavy psyche guitar and blasting drums. The interplay of quiet and loud, soft and hard is played really well here.
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Ba Da Bing! almost accidentally release a pop album but it’s okay because Cross Record are aware of the dilemma and spin in and out of hooks, not straight through them. Described in the press world as a record happening between long work weeks in places like supermarkets, ‘Wabi-Sabi’ sounds like a band creating a dense, magical forest underneath horribly bright artificial lights and between the cereal shelves. It shimmers, it marches and it keeps a psychedelic distance.
Despite its lucid ambient beginnings, ‘Wabi-Sabi’ opens up as a rather emotive, high-drama piece of music: “High Rise” is a gorgeous track based around a heart-melting chord sequence, all acoustic before a fire alarm riff careers around the corner. The drums are overloud, the cadences as melodramatic as the end of a LOST episode, and the vocals hummed like this is the world spinning at its standard pace: oh yeah, this is the feeling. “Something Unseen Touches A Flower To My Forehead” is another whispering belter, beginning on nimble fingerpicking before drums worthy of ‘The Seer’ thrash their way to the fore.
Cross Record are a duo with a multiplying body of ideas, sharing in Bjork ambient sheen and Colleen-styled loops on “Basket” and creating noisy backwards ballads on “Lemon”. There are moments when this record sounds like it’s about to settle; it’ll sooner shift, though.
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