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When LA Vampires first released ‘So Unreal’ on a limited vinyl run in 2010 it sold out in a flash, perhaps because of its superbly kitsch artwork by Spencer Longo, perhaps because Amanda Brown (she is LA Vampires) was once half of Pocahaunted – the half that wasn’t Bethany Consentino.

Consentino has since gone on to make Best Coast the surprise mayor of the beach-pop parade while Brown, as LA Vampires, has embarked on an electronic musical quest that’s largely been considered chillwave. In actual fact, it’s a lot murkier than that, and far more interesting.

Brown is a solo musician, even if she is one with a collaboration fixation. For each of her records she ropes in a guest, and on this, originally her second effort, the co-star is Matrix Metals, aka Sam Mehran, aka Sam E Danger from Test-Icicles. Mehran has long stopped squawking to screamo punk and on ‘So Unreal’ supplies the kind of glistening, gloopy electronics that made Brooklyn’s Small Black chillwave’s unsung heroes. Where the no-fi beats and star-bursting synths are concerned, this is distinctly American bedroom electronica, until Brown warbles all over it. Then, all of a sudden, ‘So Unreal’ wilts in the Californian heat quite wonderfully, somewhere between the usual floatiness you’d expect and something more uniquely demure. Each song goes on forever, almost needlessly, and the factory-beaten ‘Berlin Baby’ quickly becomes annoying in its repetitiveness, but damn that cover is cool, and like most of the records released via LA’s Not Not Fun label, so is the music within.

By Austin Laike

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