Tapping into the airy and slightly funky vibe that characterizes the recordings of Ducktails and Ford and Lopatin, then draping it in a translucent shoegaze veil, Mood Rings produce enough slick, bass driven energy to get one’s feet tapping and a powdery guitar tone that should satiate any dream-pop purist. Down to its endearingly cheesy album artwork, VPI Harmony borrows from an ambiguous era in which the Bee Gees’ high-rising falsettos can be heard alongside swirling synth-pop soundscapes. The Atlanta-based quintet has more than a few surprises waiting for listeners in this lovely first effort. It’s well worth your time.
“Pathyos y Lagrimas” was the album’s lead single, and for good reason. It encompasses most of the tones and textures that make up VPI Harmony. The track is pushed along by a Factory Records bassline, and the sparkling lead guitars faintly resemble the Twin Peaks theme song. Will Fussell sings in the high-pitched whisper of Wild Nothing’s Jack Tatum. “Come Lay Down With Me in Lined Arrangements” kicks the dreaminess up to a whole new level, featuring a near carbon copy of the Cocteau Twins’ signature ambience, with guitar chords that burst into millions of twinkling pieces. “Promise Me Eternity” is the most interesting cut here, a sprightly Sarah Records-inspired tune interspersed with heavenly moments of total sparsity. Mood Ring’s debut will resonate with fans of 60′s prog-rock ballads, 70′s pop, 80′s New Wave and 90′s shoegaze. Sure musical nostalgia is “in” at the moment, but nobody spans decades like this band can.