Review Summary: Semi-lucid ceiling gazing
Bathe Alone’s mission statement is to craft songs “you can lay on the floor and stare at the ceiling to”. It’s a humble statement, yet also one that acknowledges the artist’s capabilities and limitations in an effective manner. Last Looks
is an album that reaches great heights while never leaving the comfort of one’s bedroom: it is equal parts persistently accessible and rarely explicitly explicable.
The magnificent opener ‘Tarot Cards’ encompasses everything a dream pop song should: once the subdued, hazy intro bursts into a glistening chorus, the gently warm tone is set. Much like the entire record, the song feels lusciously sweet, like a cool spring breeze on the first warm day of the year. Bailey Crone, the sole member of Bathe Alone, possesses a voice that fits the dreamy music perfectly. Their gorgeously airy vocals guide lush synths and guitars by repeating simple, smooth lines: “These tarot cards are not read often / Fleeing the dark into softness
”. Last Looks
isn’t trying to tell stories as much as it aims to provide a point of departure for one’s thoughts to wander. Whether it’s the fractured memories of ‘The Silence’ or ‘Calm Down’s nebulous ponderings, the intentionally abstract blanks are there for the listener to fill in, guided by a wide array of gorgeous melodies.
Throughout the album, these melodies hit a perfect sweet spot. While every synth line, shimmering riff and vocal inflection manages to bear catchy qualities, they are tied to continuous reverb and subsequent drowsiness. As such, no single moment sticks out too aggressively while the entire experience still proves highly memorable, sufficiently grounded in its elegance to stick a successful landing. ‘In Deep’, one of Last Looks
’ highlights, bounces an echoing vocal pattern off a playful bass line, solidifying the record’s delightfully semi-lucid atmosphere. Here, Bailey’s self-awareness is highly susceptible and exemplified as no song overstays its welcome. ‘In Deep’ needs a mere three minutes to successfully crystallise its aura, whereas ‘Limbo’ allows itself space to breathe and delightfully intertwine synthwave and jangle pop. Naturally, this crossroads is as dreamy and gentle as the rest of the record, with the charming chorus posing questions of one not knowing “where to go in limbo
”. What this particular limbo may entail is up to whoever cares to wonder to decide (or not decide) on.
Simply put, Last Looks
is a magnificent dream pop album. It accomplishes precisely what it sets out to do; even the slightly misplaced guitar solo in ‘Curbside’ does not detract from the ability to gaze at one’s ceiling while the record is playing. It leaves enough abstraction to work itself into the minds of listeners, while putting forth a collection of highly memorable melodies to firmly keep it there. With spring approaching, Bathe Alone has crafted the ideal soundtrack to revel in as the outside world is starting to look more appealing.. from your bedroom window.