Dichotomies and Dreamland
Astute and/or bored readers of this reviewer’s articles will notice that there are two types of music that will invariably get an approving nod — one is black metal and the other is dream pop/shoegaze/drrrrrrrrrone. And when it’s done right? Ahhhhhhhh it works, so beautiful, thee infinite chord. With a stunning resemblance to early Lush, the sadly departed Isabella, and Stereolab, New York’s Soundpool craft this fucking beguiling trance that samples liberally from a perfect set of influences while still sounding completely modern. They bring a surfeit of those chill-up-the-back-of-the-neck moments that groups like Lush (they even named a song after the band, c’mon, they know what’s up) abundantly delivered on Spooky. Listen to the crystal clear synth and vocal sinewave interplay on “Do What You Love,” where the vocals intone this alternate-reality version of Aleister Crowley’s tenet over a gradually cresting wave.
Surge after surge of treated guitars like shimmering purple walls, electric hums, clicks, and whirs, liquid Mani-esque bass, brittle synths, and angelic girl vocals all melt together on top of solid, dancey rhythms — which separate them from many of their current space-rocking peers and move them into a slightly warmer sphere. The whole album sounds slightly dizzy and off-center, adrift in a sea of phase and echo. Even fucking better! This is total astronaut lounge music, pure and simple. Pure light. Pure phase.
“Pleasure and Pain” sounds like “Tomorrow Never Knows” but with a heavy Stone Roses ecstasy mantra (influence) and wide-eyed repetitive groove. “Divides of March” (har!) and “Dream Sequence” show that Soundpool can charge through their songs, as well as drift in a blissful trancey ether. The new wave recast as a girl group glacial drift on “Butterflies”? Choice! One-note synth drone overwhelms a gradually emerging chic-aping rhythm track with hand claps, ooh oohs, and underwater vamps from the vocalist. Irresistible. Great harbinger of things to come.
Do we ever get tired of this kind of music? Done this well, fuck no. Dichotomies and Dreamland is a ceaselessly comforting robotic lullaby.