REVIEW - White Laces/The Snowy Owls 10” (Harding Street Assembly Lab)
The winter of 2012 in Richmond, Virginia has been what some might say mild. Many others might say this winter is the harbinger of some sort of shift in climate by man. Either way, the sound of RVA bands’ White Laces and The Snowy Owls’ 10” split reflects a sunnier winter and warmer existence in a very uncertain future. Summery sounds fill the soundspace, recalling Animal Collective’s “Peacebone.”
“Hands in Mexico” by White Laces begins the album, and it sets the tone for the rest of the record. They conjure hints of Animal Collective in a more organic and human way. The coolest part of this track is that it begins as if it’s already started. That is to say, it’s almost as if someone very quickly turns up the volume of a band already in the middle of playing. The pace is very andante yet the instrumentation feels like it moves faster. The fuzzy guitars and layers of shimmering electronics keep the listener in a very happy place.
“Bastard’s Dead” brings with it beastly hand drums and a quiet and distant vocal track (Landis Wine) that resonates with an almost British accent and just the right amount of reverb. The quirky guitar parts and bass growing with intensity hint around a hook that’s as oddly pleasant as The Sea and Cake’s best moments.
The Snowy Owls begin their stuff with “Could,” a very guitar-fuzzy, sunny melody. The vocal tracks are underlined by another guitar playing the same notes. The addition of the faint female vocals helps this piece feel extra Sonic Youth-esque. Not only does the male-to-female vocal layering add dimension but the unison format adds a creepy shadowiness. “Summerlines” does a similar thing.
The song structures have stuck to a fairly simple outline, and honestly, that is what makes a lot of this type of music work. When the Owls do get more intricate in their melodies, they stick to a classic chord progression. This means that no matter how wired and wacky their guitars get, they still cling to that semblance of a song. “
The cover image is a very brutal pen drawing presumably depicting Hercules facing the Hydra (which rendition has been based on the Beast of Revelation). This picture gets the listener prepared to take any necessary precaution before beginning righteous rocking in a psychedelic fashion.
8.0 out of 10
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