Still Corners
Strange Pleasures


4.0
excellent

Review

by fish CONTRIBUTOR (43 Reviews)
May 26th, 2013 | 21 replies


Release Date: 05/07/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Illium nightlife.

I can’t imagine ever living anywhere but the city. I enjoy the buzz of the daytime, but most of all I love the time after the sun sets and the city goes to sleep. There’s something about the haze of lights, vague scent of tobacco, quiet streets and slight wind chill which creates a sense of intoxication and nostalgia almost as potent as the most beautiful sunsets. It’s strange that something so often considered polluted and claustrophobic can develop such soul at night, but some of the best times of my life revolve around it - staring at the London lights from my suburban home, ambling an inebriated adolescent in empty French streets and losing myself in the blur of an Andean city splayed across the mountains, in which crowds and taxis clog streets and webs of wire cables spin from building to building. That feeling of menace and freedom is one of the most powerful I’ve ever experienced.

Strange Pleasures is the essence of the midnight city, one in which Tessa Murray’s drifting voice weaves melodies under the neon keys, breezy synths and sparkling guitars of dream pop. There’s a feeling of distance here, with reverb drawing her gentle whispers out in a similar manner to the guitar bends which leave notes hanging delicately in the air. This sense of longing pervades the album; on “The Trip” a soft cooing of ‘ohs’ follows her verses with elevated synths in the background, before she sings ‘so many miles’, silence, ‘away’, and a guitar motif finally twirls in the distance. On “All I Know” her voice rises on ‘fire’ and “Fireflies”’s chorus finishes in a similar manner before more wordless singing. The echoes of her voice on “Beginning To Blue” create an anxious vibrating effect on the line ‘oh my god’ and all throughout the album space is used to enhance the ambiance, with an almost minimalistic purpose reducing the instrumentation to nothing but what is necessary to create a cool cinematic atmosphere.

Musically, Strange Pleasures is not too dissimilar to Creatures of an Hour, but the improved songwriting is what puts it so far ahead its predecessor. As important as the atmosphere is, it’s the beautifully crafted melodies and guitar lines which make Strange Pleasures breath life out of its mould, with every small motif punching energy no matter its volume. Murray’s soft melodies are seldom ‘catchy’, but they are certainly captivating, and the short bursts of guitar are grandiose even outside the context of harmonising synths. “Midnight Drive”’s hook is the moment the guitar crashes into the reverberating spangle of notes it hints at from the start and “We Killed The Moonlight’s” guitar-led chorus is brooding but somehow uplifting. “Fireflies” is the catchiest song and Murray’s voice glides out into the expanse on the title-track closer. On the best song on the album, “The Trip”, all the instruments combine to create something continuously evocative, beautiful and mesmerising. Throughout Strange Pleasures, the shards of melody and harmony are just as powerful as the atmosphere created through them. On “We Killed The Moonlight” Tessa Murray sums up the entire sentiment of the album- ‘city sleeps, we lie awake’.



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user ratings (27)
Chart.
3.7
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
fish.
Contributing Reviewer
May 26th 2013


21964 Comments


kind of a new writing style for me. don't know how well I pulled it off

"The Trip": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r1ll91YBdVE
"Fireflies": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0CeJieZWFBM
"Midnight Drive": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ky2Sab3nk0

so yeah this is good and everything

Jethro42
May 26th 2013


12440 Comments


The Trip is a cool track. Nice review.

Jethro42
May 26th 2013


12440 Comments


Belle voix de femme

fish.
Contributing Reviewer
May 27th 2013


21964 Comments


That's my favourite song

Typhoner
June 2nd 2013


852 Comments


This is a really nice, well-written review. Although the introduction is a cliché, it's so true, so no harm in using it. Review is not too discriptive, but I'm listening to The Trip now and it seems you managed to catch its atmosphere, so good job

Digging: Banks - Goddess

fish.
Contributing Reviewer
June 3rd 2013


21964 Comments


Thanks

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
June 13th 2013


19756 Comments


Prolly my favorite review I've read of yours man really nice write-up

Digging: Spectral Lore - III

fish.
Contributing Reviewer
June 14th 2013


21964 Comments


Thanks

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
June 14th 2013


19756 Comments


sure thing, this deserves more comments i'll try to listen to them later if i have time too

fish.
Contributing Reviewer
June 14th 2013


21964 Comments


I only found out after I published this that they're touring with Chvrches right now

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
June 14th 2013


19756 Comments


they sound similar? I haven't heard any of the bands in your rec by reviewer section lol

fish.
Contributing Reviewer
June 14th 2013


21964 Comments


apart from that you could broadly categorise both of them as indie/synth pop they're not that similar.
chvrches are more upbeat and pop-y and have strong synth parts, these guys have more atmosphere and
are more sombre and have guitars forming the main part of the instruments which sound more like
shoegaze than anything else. but they both have that 'night-time' feel.

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
June 14th 2013


19756 Comments


cool i'll check it out later while everybody is busy obsessing with the new kanye

fish.
Contributing Reviewer
June 17th 2013


21964 Comments


if you like this give this a listen too

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3O9l0W8qD4M

could be one to watch.

loveisamixtape
July 1st 2013


6018 Comments


the trip rules

fish.
Contributing Reviewer
July 1st 2013


21964 Comments


that it does

pizzamachine
July 23rd 2013


12571 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I almost fell asleep listening to this, it's soooooo relaxing.

loveisamixtape
July 23rd 2013


6018 Comments


i listen to this more than i ever thought i would

RollieQuibbs
August 21st 2013


430 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

listened to this twice in a row, which I was surprised by.

Jangoman
August 28th 2013


32 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Strikingly captivating.



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