Review: Sketching - "Sketching"

Sketching - Sketching
(2014 Self-Released)

Warbling, chorus-laden guitar, gnarled drum machine strokes and trebly caresses of ethereal synthesizer congeal into something alien, yet somehow familiar on the self-titled debut release by Louisville new-wave project Sketching. Drawing from the distant, distorted brand of dream pop that accented late 00’s acts like Washed Out and Small Black, as well as from the nuanced, bouyant vibe of 80’s new wave. Though the album may initially seem a sea of viscous electronic noise, nearly impossible to navigate, there is an intense impressionistic layering to be discovered by those who plunge their heads beneath the surface. These songs, though formed from the most abstract of sounds, carry the empty weight of a quiet room, broken by the subtle shuffling of an antsy child seated on the couch, or the clatter of silverware in the kitchen. Silence throbs in the listener’s ears until it’s bent and warped by soluble synths that slowly seep into the virgin canvas of blank sound. A cover of Bruce Springsteen’s stellar 1984 single “I’m On Fire” sends a Tom Waits-esque drawl floating on a crest of reverb bubbles, while “Anita” buffets the listener with its gothic, liturgical repetition, reminiscent of the intro to the Cocteau Twins' "Sea Swallow Me". Perfect music for staring at kitchen appliances late at night, or reaching out to illuminated spacecrafts in a Spielberg film.