Atmospheric Dream-pop From Bristol – Lespectre (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

Well, that’s a practical idea, naming your e.p.to align with your given musical pigeon hole. Here it works, nicely odd, wonderfully non-conformist and slightly reminiscent of Cocteau Twins often grandiose song titles. I’m not sure that it will catch on, I’m not sure I want it to, that would take all the fun out of such a lateral thinking approach but if the next Nickelback album is called “unimaginative, lumpy Zeptallica rip offs” or Mumford and Sons release “Middle class thrashy crashy banjo songs” then you know where to point the finger for such a titular fashion.

Dream-pop is a term that covers a lot of distance, from drifty, ambient moodscaping to more solid indie and pop that has had its edges softened and it is certainly to the latter end of the sonic spectrum that Lespectre lean. The songs are the perfect balance of solid structures, hooky riffs and infectious melodies, and intricate weaves of musical texture, deft half-heard musical motifs, clever grace notes and gossamer light inclusions. The result is a slightly otherworldly take on indie-pop, the perfect mix of grace and groove, melody and mood, weight and waft.

Thirty Fathoms Deep is a gloriously chiming pastoral pop piece linking the sound of some of the defter end of the new pop and post-punk sounds that made the eighties so interesting with a wonderfully here and now blend of the more delicate side of the today’s indie underground. And sounding more than a little like the most chilled spot on the Scandic-Pop block. Sleep, While I is a achingly gorgeous swirl of gentle majesty and then at the more substantive end of things opening salvo Read Me The Last Line is built of hypnotic rhythms that explode into shimmering riffs and If on A Winters Night… is a slowly stomping dance groove bedecked in strange peripheral sounds and sumptuous vocals.

So it literally does what it says on the tin. Atmospheric? Certainly. Dream-pop? Very much so. Bristol? That makes sense, although often overlooked by scene makers trying to join dots of fad and fashion, Bristol has long been a main player in  all manner of cutting edge movements from Trip-hop to post-rock and beyond. And now the city can add Dream-pop to the list, for this is the sort of music that could very well finding itself leading a musical charge. Let’s hope so.

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