Super Swedes Death and Vanilla return for their first album since 2015's To Where The Wild Things Are. The group peddle a lovingly retro form of synth and dream pop which has drawn comparisons to Broadcast, Cocteau Twins and is heavily influenced by library music, German Krautrock and 60s psych. I daresay you are going to love it.
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If ever a band was invented for the Norman Records customer base it is Death & Vanilla. Their gentle form of psychedelia and electronica plays into the hands of the sort of listener who hasn't yet got over the fact that there'll never be another Broadcast record. Though previous records are universally excellent it would be nice if Death & Vanilla could bring on the major leagues with Are You A Dreamer as we all need something to believe in in 2019.
This their 4th full length album certainly sets out in a manner which should gather a few more listeners into their world. Opener A Flaw In The Iris is a beautiful slow moving piece of gentle psych in which singer Marleen Nilsson coos effectively before her voice flowers in beautiful harmonies over the chorus. Exquisite stuff but also a track which is happy to retain a kind of calm and steadfastly refuses to take the listener elsewhere. Instead of a heightened chorus, bridge or coda, it is content to let a droning moog see out its last couple of minutes. Likewise Let's Never Leave Here revels in the understatement, Nilsson's voice whispery and unthreatening, no chance are you going to dissect these lyrics - this time the becalmed soundscape is overtaken by a more aggressive kind of coda which is most welcome. You get the impression that the band don't know what to do with it other than wibble synths above but it's still a nice touch.
Let's face it Death & Vanilla's music is lovely. It blends library music, exotic pop, kraut rock into a warm soup. The only problem is that they often don't want to tell you about it, Mercier has a lovely rising chorus with a clever drum pattern introducing the swoop of Nilsson's voice - it's these hooks which keep me listening. I can get sounds like these pretty much anywhere in 2019 but despite their reticence, Death & Vanilla have the memorable pop hooks at their disposal. it's like pulling teeth trying to get them to use them more often but Are You A Dreamer is still a lovely record and one which sounds mostly like Broadcast wrapped in cotton wool.
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