Album: Speck Mountain, Summer Above (Peace Frog)

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The Independent Culture

This debut release from Chicago indie trio Speck Mountain will gladden the hearts of all those pining for the drowsy haze of Mazzy Star, the dense guitar clangour of My Bloody Valentine, and the churning riffs of The Velvet Underground.



Aiming to provide "a depressive but hopeful space for people", Karl Briedrick and Marie-Claire Balabanian spent two years of midnight studio downtime painstakingly overdubbing layers of guitar and bass, with Kate Walsh's sax and keyboards added later. The results are patient, measured pieces like "Hey Moon", a plaintive lullaby for a satellite set in cyclical guitar arpeggios and wan melodica, or "Summer Above", with its repetitive, jangly guitar.

The opiated numbness of Balabanian's vocals lends an engaging air of naivety to the band's songs, most effectively on "Girl Out West". As comforting as a warm bath of Prozac.

Pick of the album: 'Girl Out West', 'Hey Moon', 'Summer Above'

Click here to buy this album

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