Eskimeaux - Eskimeaux
Even more chilling than the already icy title may suggest, Eskimeaux is compelling, emotional and beautiful all at the same time. After stumbling upon it the other day, I can't get this collection of eight songs out of my subconscious. Random, brief clippings of music just keep racing through my mind, calling for me to fulfill their wishes to be heard again. I don't fight these urges, though. This Philidelphian dreamwave duo serves up some of the finest gothic sound since the early days of 4AD. Combining the sheer expansiveness of Cocteau Twins and the dark, almost liturgical delivery of Dead Can Dance, it's possibly one of the best releases of 2012.
"Untitled", the opening track, is a bleak and desolate song of seclusion that uses melancholy vocal harmonies and grating bursts of eerie noise to build a fitting soundscape around the story of a "prisoner of [a] bedroom." The song is saturated with depression, finding sadness in even the most mundane aspects of life, even as small as not having enough butter to spread on one's toast. Following this song is my favorite selection off Eskimeaux, "Trinkets," in which fragile and spindly guitar pluckings lead up to a stunning chorus that features gorgeous wails from lead singer Gabrielle Smith. It sounds very similar to fellow dream-pop act The xx.
"Littoral Lullaby" brings a bit of energy to the table, carried along by an Animal Collective-esque tribal drums and spiraling electronics. While musically, it's more upbeat than your average Eskimeaux fare, it's still quite lyrically glum, illustrating a bad day for driving in New Jersey. "Bear-Strength" is another solid cut, with its watery synths and catchy electronic beats. One of the finest cassette releases of 2012, one can pick up the tape here for $8, something any fan of Cocteau Twins or even Bjork should certainly do. Just make sure to save one for me! Listen below.