Review Summary: A different breed of animal.
Perhaps it's just a sign of maturity, but Snowmine is treading a calmer path with sophomore release Dialects
, trading out pop hooks for more brooding, drawn-out passages. With previous release Laminate Pet Animal
we were introduced to a psychedelic mishmash that sustained itself (when not on some mind-bending substance) by way of staggeringly clever hooks and eclectic instrumentation. Dialects
comes across as a continuation of this formula, with a more washed-out and laidback direction that lends itself to a more overall pleasant psychedelic ride. It's a more intelligently constructed album than its excellent predecessor, and while it may come across as more same-y throughout due to its toned down ambiance, Dialects
is no doubt a more concentrated release.
Opener "To Hold an Ocean" is a prime example of what the album has to offer, featuring a delightfully unorthodox beat and vocalist Grayson Sanders crooning over the track. Sanders himself is a neo-classical composer, and this influence is evident throughout in the form of lilting and soaring string arrangements. The same intro track closes with a echoing piano interlude, signifying that Snowmine is also skilled with transitions. The tracks that most resemble their Laminate Pet Animal
counterparts are "Rome" and "Further Along, Farther Away", and even so this resemblance is fleeting. The overall slowness in tempo is more evident, but Sanders' usage of vocal hooks is still present.
Unfortunately, while it is evident that Snowmine is capable of crafting memorable tunes, their formula and their general sound lends itself very vulnerable to filler content. The second half of the album, with the exception of "Silver Sieve", tends to bleed together much more than the relatively memorable first half. Dialects
is ill-suited for lengthy listening for the sake of listening, and is perhaps more fitting as a sleepy sort of album instead of an active everyday listen. In this respect, Snowmine has succeeded in creating exactly the sort of album that they intended to create, but whether or not this bodes well for its replay value depends on individual moods and preferences. Dialects
is an excellent but very situational album, outshining its predecessor in terms of experimentation but faltering on the grounds of accessibility and replay value.