Review: Heligoland - "Sainte Anne"

Heligoland - Sainte Anne
(Self-Released 2013)
"Brilliant luminescence with a seething ambience"

During its first few strains of lulling guitar I was expecting Heligoland's Sainte Anne to be a venture sounding similar to The XX: bold, spaced out pluckings with long, dramatic pauses in between, as if the whole world fell silent between notes. Although the dream-pop trio devise a few moments of tranquility in their latest EP, Sainte Anne, it's a much more forward and fluent work than last year's Bethmale. The Cocteau Twins-esque barrage of soaring whirlwinds of joyful noise is more powerful than ever, possibly even matching some of their post-Heaven or Las Vegas works. It shouldn't come as much of a surprise to an informed listener though, as this EP was produced by the Twins' guitarist Robin Guthrie. He and the band work well together to recreate the memorable gothic shoegaze tone: a brilliant luminescence with a seething ambience floating in the background. You know how when the sun shines brightly through the window and you can see the light shimmering off of the wafting dust particles? Well somehow Heligoland was able to synthesize that sight into sound.

Karen Vogt's vocals are just as stunning as they've always been; in a slightly lower octave than I'm used to hearing in the dream pop genre, yet perfectly suited to the sultry sway of the guitars and the slow burning of the minimal drum machine. They're particularly striking on "Always Another", always on the verge of melodrama, but somehow always staying grounded. While impressive, Vogt never distracts from the music as a whole. Each component of each song works together as one organism. Whether or not you enjoyed last year's EP, you need to pick up this one. It's pretty great. Oh, and as usual, the CD art is beautiful and geometric, looking crisp in a digipack. Listen below.