STILL CORNERS | Creatures of An Hour
Still Corners’ debut full-length, “Creatures of An Hour”, is a pairing of fire and ice. Synth-rich dream-pop, frozen over by the frosty, high-treble vocals of lead singer Tessa Murray. The mood of the 10 tracks are sleeted, solemn and intimate, but insulated with a warm synth drone that covers over each song like a blanket of snow. This is music for fans of School of Seven Bells, Reverie Sound Revue, Mazzy Star, Saint Etienne, or Air, circa “The Virgin Suicides” soundtrack. There’s a sameness to the songs on record that makes the album feel like an epic. Each track may be built of the same substance, but the sculpting is delicate. This London band isn’t about grand changes, but intricate ones — shifts in gradation, shades and echoes of echoes. Plush melodies melt in gauzy vocal harmonics. It gives the record a ghostly, evaporating feel, like nothing is real but shadow. These glacial lullabies are about obsessional love, hauntings, romance, strange fantasy lands, and imagined apparitions. There’s a hazy sort of 70s French-retro nostalgia hovering over these tracks. It’s the aesthetics of weightlessness. The lead single, “Cuckoo”, is a relationship adrift, left to revisiting the past and going in circles: “It’s like we’re going cuckoo / Me and you / Stuck in a time machine / That was just a dream / I’d like to read your mind / Can you read mine? / It’s all so very cuckoo, my and you / We never meant obsession / We should have had confessions / This feels so out of time / Won’t get left behind.” The romantic, “The White Season”, is a siren’s song sung in hushes and sighs: “Softly, soft as snow / Whisper all you know.” But Still Corners don’t want to just serenade you, they want to scare you too, with their Ennio Morricone-like “I Wrote in Blood”, one of the strongest on the record. There’s a dark knife’s edge to “Circulars”, with its twisted merry-go-around electronics, and trumpet’s warning. “The Twilight Hour” mixes eery synth with one of Murray’s most beautifully sung lines, the repeating of the phrase, “Like a fire”. While “Velveteen” finds Murray in role of femme fatale amid distant tambourine, mysteriously dark keyboard and vertiginous bass. This is a wonderful breakout record. “Creatures of An Hour” is out now via Sub Pop Records, and you can purchase the record here on CD or LP. Follow Still Corners at facebook, and listen to more of their music at bandcamp. Note: Still Corners are Murray, founder Greg Hughes, Leon Dufficy and Luke Jarvis. — David D. Robbins Jr.