Saturday, December 28, 2013

Album Review: Wind Burial, 'Wind Burial'

I really can’t say enough about Snowdrift. Over the past 6 years the Seattle-based dream-psych outfit has become a local staple--mesmerizing unsuspecting listeners with their sporadic but expertly crafted records, and a live show that borders on metaphysical. 

For those of us who fell head-over-heels for their last full-length, 2010’s ‘Starry All Over’, the wait for a follow-up effort has felt like an eternity. Capitalizing on gorgeously crafted ethereal prog/drone progressions, and Kat Terran's weathered yet tender vibrato, the record delivered a powerful sense of intimacy that defies any derogatory use of the words "local music". "Sugar Queen and The Honey Storm" and "Those Nights" in particular dominated my car stereo for weeks after I got my copy back in April, and at one point I even sketched out a "most anticipated local albums" post with Snowdrift in mind. However, early in October it became clear that a new Snowdrift release would never surface. 

Instead, the band chose to rebirth the project with a new direction and a new name: Wind Burial. The Facebook post simply said, "Snowdrift has been plowed! We are now WIND BURIAL...". Soon after, the band announced the imminent release of their eponymous 5 track debut, and low and behold it appeared on cdbaby early this month. 

Wind Burial (as Snowdrift) at The Josephine on 9/13/13
Recorded at the Church of the Unknown in Anacortes by Nicholas Wilbur (Mt Erie, Lake, Gossamer), the record delivers on the members' promise of a shift toward a heavier, less ethereal sound. Don't worry, everything you want is still here: Kat's voice, the bittersweet guitar work, the weathered bass and heavy drums; even the sense of intimacy that made Snowdrift so lovable all find their way into the EP. 

The most obvious differences are in the band's use of more traditional 70's rock progressions, and in Kat's occasional Grace Slick-esque howl. While the whole EP benefits from a general broadening of the dynamic range, these changes are most obvious on the first and fourth tracks, titled "Seven Stars" and "Height of the Hills", which utilize somewhat austere, blues-based riffs as a springboard for heavy psychedelic and acid rock builds. This is in contrast to "Downstream", and "Caribou" (originally released back in February on the "Frost Giants of the World Unite!" mini-ep), which employ much more of the jangly, dreamy sound that Snowdrift were known for.
"Rainforest" is the first official single to be released from the record and it manages to fall right in the middle of the two extremes (listen and download below). Melding the intensity of Jefferson Airplane with the molten haze of Galaxie 500, the dreamy, ambling melody swells for most of the track before culminating in a shimmering, breathtaking mess. On top of being amazing, it's also a great introduction to the EP.

While some bands might have difficulty maintaining continuity with a sonic palate like this, Wind Burial's personality is so strong that each transition seems almost seamless. The result is that 'Wind Burial' is not just a great bunch of tracks, it's a great album, and it probably goes without saying that I think you should get a copy. Oh yeah, and 'Wind Burial' is officially on our short list of 2013 favorites. 
'Wind Burial' is now available through cdbaby, but an official EP release show is in the works for January 16th at the Sunset with Golden Gardens and Kylmyys.

No comments:

Post a Comment