Album Reviews – March 27, 2018

Caroline Rose – Loner  (New York City)

Folk-pop can often feel like a sonically and even lyrically bland genre to people these days, but that doesn't have to be the case. As she dissects modern life and modern music, Caroline Rose brings forth a recor that is never what you expect. There's a bite and haze to "More Of The Same, as Rose doesn't bury her melodies, and instead offers up a focused and raw track. "Cry!" however shows off a strangely old-school synth sound, and Rose's growth across the track is charted in the way her synths evolve throughout it. She brings these keyboards to the front on "Jeannie Becomes A Mom" with sharp hooks and a bouncy groove that will make you move. Rose gets surprisingly dark on "To Die Today" as she becomes distant and heavy in a mix of loud bass and classically influenced electronics.

Doxx – III (Ottawa)

The grimy crawl of "PUA" roars ferociously and stomps out with the brutal punk energy that Ottawa is known for. A stern focus on drums and bass keeps tracks like "STAB RISK" continuously explosive and insane, letting each furious flight of guitar feel like the weapon they're wielding. Though there's much more straightforward writing on "NEW CHURCH" DOXX make it all the heavier to balance things out, and offer an intriguing story about losing faith in the modern age. "OLD MAN" grinds out with an infectious hook and fast pace, letting their blistering story hit all the right notes.

Gwenno – Le Kov  (Wales)

Psych rock has taken so many new shapes as technology grows that it's almost impossible to guess its every move nowadays. Gwenno goes beyond her typical Welsh-language magic on her new album to deliver mystical tracks inspired by Cornish folklore. "Hy a Skoellyas Lyf A Dhagrow" starts the album with mesmerizing singing and a lavish wave of sound that lets the endless melodies move freely. Gwenno brings things to a much harsher sound on "Tir Ha Mor" as pounding drums and sinister bass create an aggressive and tense energy. There's a deep sense of place throughout the album like on "Eus Keus?" where a warm bell hook brings out the menacing religious under tones in its Giallo sound. The vintage energy of "Daromres Y'n Howl" grows its instrumentation around the simple piano to reach a fever pitch of explosive spirit.

To The Trees – To The Trees EP (Waterloo)

Waterloo's Too The Trees emulate the sounds of the past amazingly on their latest EP to create songs that are notably all their own. Swells of engaging synth and effects rush through the album like on the ambient and powerful "All I Ever Wanted" that uses them to tell a personal and heartbreaking story of lost love. The synths shine brightest however on the bouncy pop of "Run From Fire" as the band craft heavy grooves and addictive riffs to make a dance hit. 80's sheen cuts through "Seasons" as they craft a clever mix of dark energy into a warm and hopeful track. "Signals" however breaks it all away for a searching and sprawling track that finds power in opening up their sound to pull depth out of every little detail.

Totally Mild  – Her  (Melbourne, Australia)

Though elegance isn't always in vogue for most indie music, there's a sense of grandeur that it can evoke. For Australia's fearless quartet, Totally Mild, blending all their ideas without holding back creates an unbelievable listening experience. As the band's electronics start to take hold on "Sky" the band evoke a choir-like shape of harmonies, and build a powerful intro out of cleverly used tension. They release this all on "Pearl" as the lush bass opens the album to its rock core, and they combine a mix of quirky sounds into a sonic buffet to the ears. "From One Another" breathes with catchy riffs and atypical textures that evoke parts of Belle & Sebastian. No track feels as appropriately titled however as "Underwater" where the light bounce of guitars moves through its filters t o simulate their aquatic narrative.