Ghost Orchard - Bliss
(2016 Orchid Tapes)
Think of Bliss as a spiritual and sonic successor to Starry Cat's eponymous debut record - taking cues from the feline's sedimentary production style, Michigan's Ghost Orchard smashes as many tectonic layers of crusty riffage together as he can squeeze between splashes of distant percussion. Atop a primordial layer of droning bass and scuffed-up power chords lies a marbled deposit of murmured lyrics, dreamily strummed acoustic chords and a squeeze bottle's worth of twee keyboard that reminds me of that chocolate sauce that hardens atop ice cream, forming a brittle, tasty crust.
The baker's dozen of tracks on Bliss are brisk and ephemeral - though taken as a whole, the record is uniformly covered in an impenetrable enamel of fuzz, each individual cut acts as a peephole into its own magic realm - "4th of July" is as shimmery as a Lite-Brite summer sky and as skittish as the teen angst below it; "Don't" bounces blinding UV ray melodies off December snowbanks; my personal favorite song off the record, "October 2013", paints a barren post-halloween landscape, Tootsie Pop wrappers tumbling down a shadowy sidewalk. There's a year's worth of mixtape and playlist fodder stashed into this record - it's worth keeping around for a long time.