Review: Pastoralia - "Demo"

Pastoralia - Demo
(2016 Self-Released)

Angel Hair riffs lie heaped beneath a film of bubbles, frayed like used dental floss by an astringent chorus-pedal effect. Philadelphia's Pastoralia brings pliant stretches of warbly guitars to boil and cooks them to al dente texture. Pockets of breathability are sifted through a sieve of analogue crunch, leaving behind the springy bed of skin-soft shoegaze that forms the dream-pop duo's debut demo-tape. 

Inaugural number "Forget" tiptoes forth on a skittering beat as flautal wisps of keyboard weave their way through mesh walls of twangy chords. Pastoralia's brand of twee is as fleshy-yet-translucent as the disembodied facial features that appear on their demo's cover art; it is intimate, yet brittle to the touch. Vocals are delivered with a sort of hushed conviction, waxing emotive but restrained enough to avoid shattering the fragile instrumental shell that houses them. 

"History"is a slithering mass of reverb slime that moves with the languid griminess of Dinosaur Jr's "Thumb". Overdriven Casio keys grind against folky strumming, this friction leaving the track with a sandpapered exterior. Eerie instrumental "Haze" - which could be mistaken for a vaporous demo from The Cure's Head on the Door sessions - follows. Despite the lack of vocals, it's the strongest tune of the trio, perhaps taking influence from the sweatered sound of an Orchid Tapes compilation.

Graze in pastoral fields of dream-matter.