Instead, it's uplifting and sensuous
Snowblink’s first album after the demise of co-leaders Daniela Gesundheit and Dan Goldman’s marriage could’ve been a total downer, yet it manages to keep the Los Angeles/Toronto-based duo’s ethereal, often whimsical magic intact.
Snowblink’s non-linear songwriting style seems built with mood in mind first and foremost. Gesundheit’s gorgeous voice climbs hither and yon while Goldman spaciously pads out the ambience with synths, drum loops, backing vocals, guitar and general atmospherics. Guests include Leslie Feist (hugely evoked by Gesundheit’s timbre and delivery, especially on Second Sight), Owen Pallett, Thom Gill, Mika Posen and many others.
It’s very much a voice record – and Gesundheit’s is stunning throughout, her lyrics like vivid snapshot stories sung intimately into a close mic. But just when you feel the album is beginning to lack rootedness or grit, third song Cyclone adds a thickly distorted synth and horror-movie strings that throw some welcome shadows and weight into the proceedings. (The horns produce a similar effect on the title track, which comes midway through.)
Feel Like A Man could soundtrack a Tim Burton movie, with its excellently creepy minor-key melody and tinkling piano keys (though the regressive lyrics might put your back up: “I feel like a man / I haven’t cried for weeks now,” Gesundheit sings). Cobalt Clear is also excellently cinematic and widescreen.
The melodies are too complex to be easily remembered or sung by a crowd. But despite that lack of hooks, Returning Current makes a deep impression – one that will probably be different in every listener.
Top track: How Now
Snowblink play the Burdock on October 8 and 9. See listing.