Review Summary: Drowned in mud, salvaged by light.
There have been many genre collisions in the world of music. For this instance, however, let’s focus on the ones involving an inconspicuous little endeavour called Shoegaze. It has been fused with Emo and forged a glossy musical escapade, with Black Metal a crushing emotional odyssey and with Post-Rock a dreamlike fantasia. And now it is about time to explore depths previously unreached. I: You Are Loved
tackles the likes of Sludge, Post-Metal and Dream Pop, paradoxically-incorrelatably enough.
It isn’t that easy to describe this album using only a few highlights, because pretty much every song and every song’s passage steers in a different direction, whilst still maintaining its echoic Shoegaze haziness. The openers “Starfall” and “Daylight” blast through with that good old muddy Sludge and Hard Rock outbursts, where only the production and the vaguely intelligible vocals calm down the emotional weight; further exploring the depths of near-Space Rock musical depths with “Dead Star/Dr. Mars”, which is layered with some truly beautiful piano mood-setters; and eventually going through some more or less Post-Rock/Metal-ish shifts on later cuts like “Uboa’s Fourth Dream”.
Now, all of this, what with its genre mixing and ever-changing instrumentation, does sound good on paper, but the album just too often feels somewhat disorganised. Only the foggy Shoegaze production keeps the album’s flow potent. I was quite sceptical going in, seeing how all the tags related to the album were quite all over the place stylistically and were rarely intersected (Sludge Pop" How’s that gonna sound"). And now that I have it over it does sound like the band simply wanted to dig into every hole, leaving the overall experience pretty directionless. Then again, the dreamy production does its magic and helps the album become more cohesive.
Also, the vocals are simply disjointing. You could be listening to the most overwhelming piece of endearing beauty (that is “Capsule Song”) and be simultaneously slapped in the face with off-beat, out-of-place vocals that don’t match or enrich the experience. Thankfully, they are not that prevalent.
In spite of all of that, You Are Loved
is a featherweight journey through all the weight of the world’s struggles. There is a cosmic beauty captured by the tether of earthly strains. There is a magnetic energy unloosened from brood, but rather ruminating on dimmer topics. There is enjoyment to be had and nits to be picked. There is simplicity behind all the walls of experimentation. And there is triumph behind the mask of sorrow.