Slowness – ‘Berths’ (2019)
I may be slightly prejudiced when it comes to the new album Berths by the enchanting San Francisco band Slowness, as Jules (Julie Lynn) and I instantly bonded at several Luna shows where we were the only ones tripped out enough to dance the night away … but I digress.
What suits me best, what’s most comfortably intoxicating about this shoegazing droning surreal and at times dream-pop counterculture band is that while they’ve woven their inspirations into the fabric of their sleeves, they never come across as beholden to them, doing what all good bands should do, accepting those influences, then building on them, fashioning their own musical statements and letting the music fly. Though with that being said, as you’re spinning this delightful piece of wax, don’t be surprised if bits of Spiritualized, The Cure’s Disintegration, The Charlatans UK and even Mojave 3, along with a number of other bands drift though your room like ghosts from an imaginative past.
I find it nearly impossible to categorize the controlled reverb and fuzzed out hazy experience of listening to Berths, as it simply encompasses too much, yet in so doing, doesn’t come off as scattered or uneven, certainly relentless at times, smooth and willing at others, where within the six numbers that make up this outing, no one is shy about turning an unexpected corner, coming face to face with an impassioned couple up against a brick wall washed in the warm glow of a streetlamp, with Berths being one of those albums that draws one in, a cohesive experience, rather than playing on in the background.
What struck me instantly, was that the record didn’t come across as so much an assemblage of songs, but a collection of postcards arriving unexpectedly years out of date, drifting back ethereal atmospheric memories that I’d already compartmentalized and nearly forgotten.
Berths, from the inside out, is a wondrous slow-burn experience of restrained intensity.
*** Berths is a very long EP, or a very short album, spinning on at just over thirty minutes in length at 45rpms.
Slowness – ‘Berths’ (Schoolkids Records 2019)