Review Summary: Serenity of uncertainty
As ‘Sink in Deep’ indicates, Salt an Atlas
crafts a world that’s not quite tied to one person’s perspective, instead shifting and blurring ambiguous boundaries at every turn. The song is a wonderful introduction to half/cut’s second full length album, where dreams become distorted realities, and deceptively jagged elements reconstruct themselves as smooth, rounded moments of unscathed peace. It’s a unique space where ambivalence shapeshifts into virtue, and violence insinuates serenity.
The Australian outfit blends a wide array of influences into its foundation sparkling dream pop, held together by Jessie Warren’s luminous vocals. Her voice is crystal clear, bouncing off of sparkly backdrops to ensure several half-lucid mantras are as transparent as they are intangibly incoherent. ‘Cricket’ contrasts the clear-cut “I’m here, I got this
” with “But please turn the cricket on / I need to sleep
”: an expression that would demarcate a drunk’s odd ramblings in any other context, but half/cut’s resilient world allows it to make perfect sense.
Elsewhere, ‘S.I.N.’ emphasises Salt an Atlas
’ more progressive, twinkly leanings, contrasting beautifully intricate guitar work with Warren’s soft whispers of quiet hurting, quiet murder. Similarly satisfyingly offbeat, ‘Black Horse’ boasts the record’s most explosive chorus, establishing itself as a floaty psych-pop anthem in the process. Seemingly describing the post-death transformation from ashes to horse by means of salt water, the song wades in the type of uncertainty that characterises both half/cut’s music and all aspects of human life.
Salt an Atlas
recognises the ambiguity of, well, everything ever, and invites listeners to let imaginations run wild instead of wallowing in the negative connotations of unpredictability. Thankfully, the equally unclear answers and ideas half/cut present are ones of gorgeous melodies and captivatingly peaceful patterns. This is an album to get lost in, if you allow it to momentarily fill spaces you hadn’t actively acknowledged previously.