The press release tells us that the second LP from Portland’s drowse was recorded in pretty unhappy circumstances. Kyle Bates, the band’s only full-time member, was struggling with mental health and addiction problems in the nine months in which Cold Air came to life. It’s as spaced-out and troubled a record as one might expect to emerge from these circumstances. Dream-pop, chamber-pop, post-rock and music concrete come together for an album that has pain at its core, yet also finds moments of great beauty and solace. For fans of Deerhunter, Cocteau Twins, maybe even a little bit of Suede...
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Oh what has happened now? Almost every record released these days seems to be on the back of a breakdown, a relationship catastrophe or some kind of hardship. It's terrible. People have it bad - especially musicians.
All this happened to Kyle Bates during the making of this record: - a nose broken while blackout drunk, a seizure followed by feverish hallucinations, a father’s stroke, the death of a close friend. Terrible. Especially the nose thing. What it has all led to is an album of indistinct shoegaze that sometimes threatens to boil over into anger. 'Quickening' is an early highlight with some lovely 90's guitar chords assembled in a blurred order, 'Two Faces' is a delight - it sounds like the Swirlies - you know those times when people played guitars sideways - but there's a lot of Deerhunter in here - that semi dream state they seem to write in. Bates often sounds like he's composed his songs after waking up from a very long sleep. He's not afraid to halt the album with moments of ambience and noise.
It's a disorientating listen, I had to halt 'Put Me To Sleep' as I'd feared I'd played the song twice at the same time and they were just out of sync with each other. Drowse is the perfect name for this band. Their woozy sound is like MBV on quaaludes
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