If you’re a connoisseur of electro-dream pop, then you’ll know that a little verisimilitude is what separates good from great inside this sub-genre. Sure, you can get some solid jams off of simply interesting instrumentation, but what keeps something in your mind for longer periods of time is the human elements that give it that multidimensional intrigue. In other words, there is an emotional connection of some kind that pushes the music past just wailing guitars or flat vocals. This factor is what divides the tracks on Creatures of an Hour; some prod their way into your psyche while others just dance around the outside.
The first song, “Cuckoo,” easily falls into the category that is able to penetrate deeper. An instant single for Still Corners, it kicks things off with its atmospheric waves of sound. Some bass joins in, increasing the heaviness that this substantial groove already had going and all that is left to complete the dreamy set are the female vocals. Borderline sinister, the sugary vocals tease and pull at the thickset spacey backing, juxtaposing sweet with theatrically dark. Behind Tessa Murray’s voice are some ethereal oohs and ahhs that echo along with the wispy lead. Following “Cuckoo” comes “Circulars,” a brief and to the point synthesizer saturated number that goes nonstop for its length of two minutes. Serving as a mostly instrumental interlude between the first and third numbers, it’s a short little number that adds a little synth spice to the tonal style.
Third on the album is “Endless Summer,” a track that doesn’t so much play on juxtaposition as it does on the overall sound of serenity and calm, with echoes of solemnity swirling beneath. It’s a track that is moderately good, and mirrors the rest of the album. For the most part, Still Corners hold your attention, letting their ethereal dreamy shoe-gaze meander its way into your attention. The first song is unique in that it really demands your focus, whereas the other songs let you come to them. An exception to this phenomenon comes on “I Wrote In Blood,” which implores the delicacy of Murray’s voice alongside loops of swirling synthesizers. It’s got this demented lullaby feeling to it, as if it’s a song for nightmares rather than sweet dreams.
All in all, it’s an interesting sounding album. If you’re looking for a ton of variety from song to song, then Creatures of an Hour may not be for you. If you’re cool with grippingly soft, yet edgy vocals accompanied by winter-perfect hazy pop then by all means, you’re set.
Creatures of an Hour is out now on Sub Pop Records.