Review Summary: i've had myself a weekend
It snowed in Vermont this weekend. The last time I listened to Pop Winds’ Earth to Friend
, everything was all wrong. It was in a room overlooking the perpetual rainstorm over Amsterdam, an ocean away from everyone I know and no, not even the best weed in the world makes that entirely okay. So Earth to Friend
passed by sort of unimpressively, probably because I was in no mood to be impressed. I’m not great at giving things the attention they deserve. But it snowed in Vermont this weekend, and it made all the difference.
My friends are collapsing around me. We’re college boys, the lot of us probably much more similar to that stupid, sensitive, Garden State
indie douchebag archetype than any of us would like to admit. The past two weeks, I’ve watched these guys drown themselves in puddles of their own misery. There’ve been a lot of conversations. There’s been a lot of drinking. It’s been exhausting. But this weekend was Thanksgiving break, and I got away from it all, home to Vermont, where, yesterday, it snowed. I stayed in and watched it. On a whim, I threw on Earth to Friend
, and it hit me then. By a fire, watching snow fall, watching family cook, talk, yell at sports, drink, joke, kiss-- that is the right atmosphere to listen to this album.
Earth To Friend
is a beautiful, melancholic pop record from a band that died before the record was released. I’m too romantic not to hear the imminent farewell lingering over this album and too sentimental to not separate this read from my own life. Perhaps this means nothing to you but I won’t sit and pretend that Earth to Friend
doesn’t resonate with me on a deeply personal level. It feels tailored to this moment. My social world appears to be falling apart. This world will also cease to matter in six months when I lose all my friends to real life. And I am here at home, surrounded by people I love, feeling safe and confident. That’s what Earth to Friend
feels like; a haven against external chaos and anxiety, an escape that doesn’t pretend problems don’t exist but spins them into something beautiful. It is the right album for me right now: a marker of great art, right?
And to hear it like this! Open and sparse, Earth to Friend
is being played in an empty room to nobody. One guitar will leave a spare lick bouncing off the walls. Vocalists will play off and against each other with the dexterity of Avey and Panda circa Merriweather Post Pavilion
. A saxophone appears, not to add cheese, but to… well? One wonders why it’s there at all, but why complain when it is the layer that sends “Sunlight” to transcendence amidst fuzz and beckons of “Get in the sunlight”? This record sounds pristine, not through the maximized, M83-esque style dream-pop of their previous record, but through what it leaves out. There’s not much grandeur, but what it salvages--dream pop’s aching melodies, its terrific hooks and its otherworldly spirit--is more than enough for it to thrive.
There are eight tracks on Earth to Friend
, and only five of them are full songs, and if you’re like me you’ll know them all intimately by the time you’ve played the record for the sixth time. The closing, eponymous track is my favorite, and the track most responsible for the tenor of this piece. This is something gorgeous, something I love and something I’m not at all interested in cheapening by dissecting to find an angle. This is something I sincerely hope you love as much as I do because it can do wondrous things. And that’s as thorough a review as I think this deserves.