Review Summary: A different kind of voiceReaching for Indigo
isn’t an album that makes you feel all warm and toasty inside as it plays out. If the primary goal of Circuit Des Yeux - aka Haley Fohr - was to take us outside our comfort zone, the mission has been accomplished. With an approach that connects the jarring and beautiful, Fohr’s vision comes to life. There are somber stretches of music -- backed by her decidedly unique, bellowing vocals -- but none of them could really be called conventional. Even more odd, are the events surrounding the creation of the album, which recall Fohr convulsing unexpectedly on the floor on a bleak night in 2016. Be it the dark concept or the way Circuit Des Yeux blends eerie experimentation into otherwise bright moments, Reaching for Indigo
is one of the most peculiar beasts of the year.
The first thing that instantly grabs the listener about Circuit Des Yeux will be Fohr’s deep, far-reaching voice. She has a rare register and conveyance that’s hard to come by, and it’s essentially the backbone of Reaching for Indigo
. On “Black Fly” alone, she exudes beauty, anguish and everything in between with her performance. In its second half, it’s as if the song is being recorded in the back of a run-down pet store (more specifically, a room full of aquariums and flickering fluorescent-green lights). Though it may sound a bit pandering, these little production touches fit naturally into the background of their creator’s raw inflections. The atmospheric “Philo” shifts from reflective to bizarre as pleasant piano keys lead into urgent strings and ghoulish, incomprehensible howls. There’s something haunting about it, to be sure – and the same can be said about much of the album.
It’s hard to believe Reaching for Indigo
is only 35 minutes; so many weird ideas and sounds are strewn about in the madness, it feels much longer (but in a good sense). You don’t have to go out of your way to find a track with eccentric ideas. “A Story of this World, Part 2” could
be accessible, were it not for the demented cries of what sounds like possessed tarzan thrashing in the horizon. On the other hand, opener “Brainshift” has abrupt, brooding brass that reminds me of last year’s Blood Bitch
. That’s not to say there aren’t some serene moments of music here, but Circuit Des Yeux steers away from the ordinary. If things are sounding peaceful and grounded, it surely won’t be long before things get weird again. With her perplexing, low voice -- matched with slick, abundant experimentation -- Reaching for Indigo
transcends the traditional appeal of a singer-songwriter. Whenever Haley Fohr sings, it’s as if the instrumentation around her is momentarily frozen in time; quite the compliment for an album that surrounds her with so many uncommon vibrations.