Keep moving. Don’t look back. Don’t get trapped. Multi-instrumentalist Nic Zwart took the lessons of famed itinerants and exiles like Paul Bowles and Gertrude Stein to heart, leaving his band Desolation Wilderness and his home in the Pacific Northwest far behind and relocating to San Francisco. His first album as Electric Sunset serves as something of an abstract travelogue, reflecting the dislocation, uncertainty, nostalgic vapors, excited anxiety, and open-hearted hope that comes with leaving everything behind and making a new life in a new town. (What’s that Bowie lyric?) Recorded with a variety of synthesizers, samplers, guitars and distaff tech, and of course Zwart’s own breathy, androgynous, choirboy lilt. It’s a rush of experience, impression, and memory, with clouds of shoegaze guitar boundaried by a much more certain Krautrockian groove. Electric Sunset is bereft of both the flirtations with dance culture so favored by psychiksoulbrothers Neon Indian or Toro Y Moi, and the sense of hazy indecision engendered/encoded in their every glo-fi note. Herein is a sound that is more ragged and direct in execution, the obsolete tick-tock of the drum machine, the whoosh of the synths, the guitar shimmers, yeah, but it also chimes with choppy, Mary Chain/Postcard-esque strums and crystal lead guitar lines. Electric Sun is redolent of classic first-wave British shoegazing bands — Wire’s “Outdoor Miner,” early New Order’s ecstatic discipline (the flawless “Infinity Avenue”) and the sun-dazed Merseybeat of the La’s — and those vocals are so shiveringly innocent and wide-eyed. All forward motion, and twilit horizons. Road trip music, through and through.
K Records: www.kpunk.com