Sea Glass were formed by Matt Ashton of The Leaf Library along with Melinda Bronstein. Shifts is their debut album. If you can imagine the folkie end of Broadcast mixed with the minimalist approach of Young Marble Giants and the reverb drenched sounds of Grouper, then you are on your way to knowing how this will sound. The best way to find out, of course, is to buy it.
Vinyl LP £18.27 WIALP084
LP on Where It's At Is Where You Are.
You lot probably don’t think too much about the order we write these reviews in, but let me pull back the curtain very slightly. The last review I wrote today was Duma’s self-titled, a monstrous record that brings together noise, grindcore and hard techno. So please excuse me if this review comes across slightly disoriented, because Sea Glass are none of those things. Duma are jagged and abrasive and nightmarish, Sea Glass are soft and smooth and dreamy.
‘Shifts’, their debut album, is built from gentle acoustic guitars, and just-about-there ambience. The minimalism of the instrumentals only accentuates their richness, creating the perfect bed above which Melinda Bronstein can sing. The timbre of her vocals will bring to mind Grouper, and Julia Holter and Belle & Sebastian, they share a soft insistence. But it’s the looping and layering of Brondstein’s vocals which makes ‘Shifts’ into something dreamlike. Phrases are repeated again and again, sometimes changing without me noticing. “How can I call you?” becomes “how can I tell you?” becomes “how can I be you?”
The looping and layering also allows for some enjoyable harmonies and counter melodies to emerge, which always sound uncanny when created with just the one voice. Sea Glass don’t go as far as the likes of Lyra Pramuk, but nor do they have to. ‘Shifts’ is aiming a for a vibe that’s more pastoral, a mood they share with fellow exponents of subtle British psychedelia like Vanishing Twin.
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- Shifts by Sea Glass
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