Thematically diverse but still deliciously melancholy filmic indie atmospherics from these Albuquerque dwellers. I keep imagining the Field Mice covering the Soft Machine’s III and mischievously throwing in Dirty Three/Bad Seeds instrumental numbers, but then they’ll switch it up and rollick through a delightful cutie-pop girl boy singalong or, like a cigarette slowly burning down to ash between a film starlet’s fingers, they’ll craft waves of late-night torch, complete with horn solos. Black Tie aren’t constricted by the standard guitar/bass/drums noose – adding in keyboards, organs, cellos, the aforementioned horns, and, rarely, vocals. This is definitely one for the wee small hours, though Goodbye, Farewell does contain a few manic, driving moments.
Goodbye, Farewell is an album that keeps unfolding like some origami puzzlebox, revealing new and compelling layers of sonics, composition, and feeling. Instrumental sketches like the “Haunting of Francisco De Goya” and “Moonbeams and Forget-Me-Nots” are heartstoppingly still and placid – just serene pools of muted guitar, whereas “Wide Open” is wide-eyed Pastels style naivete and frolic that still works with off-key boy/girl harmonizing and I wouldn’t have it any other way. “Black Velvet Morning” (appropriate title) soars and shimmers, soundtracking some lost love scene from a French new wave film, cello and horns making welcome entrances from stage left. A song as sumptuous and crystalline as “Afraid to Die” just pulses and flutters – unafraid to reach for Spacemen 3’s heaven, but knowing that things like this take time. The title track, tucked away at the end like an afterthought, is a fine, fine ending – translucent and delicate choirboy pop goodness – keyboard and electric piano gently waltz with slightly shuddering electric guitar, and oh, those innocent voices.
Indebted to Neu, the Velvet Underground that performed “Ocean,” Go Betweens, the Midnight Cowboy soundtrack, and Trembling Blue Stars. Sometimes they play, sometimes they charm, sometimes they weep, sometimes they pose, sometimes they rush forward bravely, sometimes they stare into the mirror and try to wish it all away. Or I might have it all wrong. Fucking promising indeedy.