May 27, 2016 Issue # 57 – M83
Amber Arcades—the thrilling and delectable project of Dutch artist Annelotte de Graaf-—revel in the ability to combine textures, sounds, and colors together to create dream-like sounds and sequences; but forever being driven along by a pop heartbeat. There are echoes of the likes of Stereolab, Broadcast, and even some frazzled Cocteau Twins sounds in there, but the truth is that the music never sits still enough for such comparisons to be truly made. At times everything will drop out and you’re listening to a Lysergic-tinged Laura Marling, and at other times the clatter and tumult of the drums evokes thoughts of Can and NEU!. But what is so truly special about Fading Lines is that in de Graaf’s expert hands, the different sources and textures work beautifully and organically together.
“Turning Light” is a glorious piece of electro-fringed psychedelic rush, while the delicate pull-and-tug of “Apophenia” is perfectly judged, as are the über-pop shimmer of “Come with Me” and the outstanding “Right Now.” Fading Lines is not a pop album, but it is an album that truly understands how melody and an understanding of pop music can be combined with intelligent and disparate elements to produce music that never settles, never compromises, and never condescends, yet is able to thrill and inform at every turn. There may be better albums than Fading Lines released in 2016, but it’s doubtful whether any of them will contain the same perfectly-weighted combination of sounds and influences. A truly beguiling debut. (www.amberarcades.net)
Author rating: 8.5/10
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Average reader rating: 9/10
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