Other Voices 08
Nice single by this Lisbon based sextet, which offers up two sweet psych-dappled tunes containing elements of both tropicalia and French 1960s production smoosh with a touch that is trés Vannier. All of which naturally points towards the sunnier side of the Stereolab/Broadcast continuum, but that’s no problem in this chalet. Quite a lovely spin.
This is the latest in a series of single releases from the rather wonderful Ghost Box label, featuring a guest visit from Lisbon band Beautify Junkyards, and a lovely chunk of mystical, mind-melting gorgeousness it is too. The electro-acoustic sextet weave their dreamy, psych-folk sorcery across two tracks, both of which have a hazy, soft focus, exotic shimmer to them – rather akin to Stereolab soundtracking a piece of obscure ’60s softcore erotica (which is, of course, intended as a compliment of the highest order). There are deeply-embedded, ethereal vocals, softly strummed and artfully plucked acoustic guitars and just a hint of percussion. The Portuguese female voice on ‘Pirâmide’ adds a welcome whiff of Tropicalia to the mix, making for a nice contrast to the male English-language vocal on the flip. A thing of beauty, and it comes in a thick vinyl pressing with a regulation Julian House sleeve.
Lisbon’s Beautify Junkyards long ago established themselves firmly in the firmament of bands that feel incapable of taking a wrong step – and while longtime Ghost Box watchers might wonder if this is the moment they do so… they don’t.
The latest in a series of singles that has already given the ghost plenty of chances to step out of its customary box for a time, “Constant Flux” is the Junkyard’s traditional grasp of pastoral folkiness, wired through what ought to be the recurring theme in a slow burning folk horror movie, gently foreboding as it lulls you along, and only your imagination knows what’s happening just out of camera range.
There’s a taste of Broadcast in the air, and a gentle serenity that spreads across the Portuguese language “Pirâmide” too, bed upon bed of acoustics that cushion Rita Vian’s so-captivating vocal with a warmth that deserves far more than the under-four minutes that the song consumes. Truly, there should be an entire album’s worth of this.
Lisbon’s Beautify Junkyards follow up last year’s psych-pop odyssey The Beast Shouted Love with a single for Ghost Box’s increasingly intriguing “Other Voices” series. The eighth installment sees the Portuguese band trading in their familiar brand of pastoral psych – burbling beats, whispery vocals, music box ambience – and its a perfect fit for Ghost Box’s layered roster. The single is strong on both sides, the A-side is a gorgeous sunset melt of plucks and swirling synths made for sliding off the remains of the day. The flip is by turns more nocturnal, a secret world of forest folk adorned with ornaments of subtle psychedelic nuance and a loping beat. Its easy to see how Ghost Box could pull this one close, and I’d be unsurprised to see a full length from the band arrive on the label sometime in the future. Its the kind of release that feels like it might already be in their ranks. Solid as ever, the label is still leading the pack in consistency of psychedelic oddities these days.
Raven Sings the Blues