Tuesday, November 20, 2012
Wishes and Thieves - self released
This single from NYC based four piece, Wishes and Thieves came in from Jeff over at Tijuana Gift Shop. Over at Hopeless Thunder in an interview Nancy Hoang did with the band, lead singer Jolanda Porter joined up with the three piece, she was looking for a band and they were writing the instrumentals that went on to become the tracks on their Lighthouse EP. As working musicians you've got to be able to collaborate and draw from various styles and the four of them are definitely bringing that crazy mix of influences into this project. You can hear a dense, heavily manipulated electronic sound, the epic synths are introduced, alongside unusual rhythms and Jolanda vocally is hard to draw attention away from...but they still manage to put together a complete package where this is all working on the same level and it doesn't feel like two separate combined entities.
A-Side "Forest Fire" has a slow atmospheric start, but that's because they have some huge plans brewing...it isn't long before it's a massive, heavily produced, throbbing almost dance track that continues to climb to epic, soaring places with attention to detailed constructed minutiae and melody. Almost with a new wave homage it twinkles in quiet bells and a clickity rimshot beat, deliberately thin and restrained in service of Jolanda's vocals, which remind me of Verity Susman from Electrelane. A powerful high register, thick delivery that can switch into a hushed whisper. Toms pick up that rimshot beat for rolling crash cymbals to completely blow this thing into Maps territory...hair raising. It's the kind of production, like huge blockbuster movies, when done right, you end up with something that makes a case for the hours of studio time, pouring over those details instead of one take in your garage with a 4-track. They both have their place, but to hit the emotional highs here takes special talent in more than just the performance.
"Starry Eyed" on the B-Side equally turns understated electronics into a full on Postal Service dense feeling electronic number. Jolanda is somehow successfully juggling this jagged melody in spite of the skipping around, impossibly programmed rhythms (I'm guessing they have to be the way this sounds unplayble)...it's impressive, and to do it with any kind of soul, getting some kind of impassioned feeling into the inherently calculated construction is always the challenge on this sort of thing, but it sounds damn good on vinyl. To be able to turn up those clicks, hugely gated snare hits, and alien tones past where you should be able to, without a hint of distortion becomes almost novel. It's an aberration like Relations and ...Music Video?. The attention to detail and combining the machine made sounds with the organic construction of a group versed in nearly every way of putting notes together is a rare thing.
Get this on black vinyl direct from Wishes and Thieves.