ALBUM OF THE WEEK
Here’s a charming curio from the US underground. Mind Palace Music, the debut album from @, is the product of many an iMessage, sent to bridge the 100-mile gap between duo Victoria Rose and Stone Filipczak. The distance between the pair seems to have made the heart grow fonder, with this succinct set crammed full of enchanting acoustic mirages.
The songs often start sparse before company comes in the form of multitracks (a nod to the band’s chosen genre of ‘hyperfolk’). ‘Take Friendship is Frequency’ for example, this an album highlight, and a slab of eccentric freak-folk that leans more into freak than folk. An initially strummed begining is hijacked by doo-wop gremlins who grab the wheel in the middle eight, steering the whole thing delightfully off course. @’s weirder urges are most overt here, but a similarly off kilter energy pervades the rest of this charming record.
‘Major Blue Empty’ riffs on the obsessive and addictive by-products of love. “I’m going through your clothes / I know where they go” Filipczak intones before conceding to spiralling woodwind; the sylvan turned disorientating, like a walk in the woods where paths lead back onto themselves or daylight colours bleed like overexposed film.
On opener ‘Parapet’ fluttering keys skip under a climbing vocal melody. The choral purity recalls The Roches, and is sublime for it. On ‘Letters’ and ‘My Garden’ Rose’s voice swoons and yearns; in tandem with the record’s baroque and gilded instrumentation the effect is almost spiritual. Layered vocals float above the mix, high o some pastoral imagery juxtaposing the disposable and ubiquitous symbol employed as the band’s moniker.
‘Camera Phone’ sees the pair harmonising, and together they tease out a languorous vocal line a la Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazlewood. When the outro takes a surprising left-turn to the kosmische Mind Palace Music makes sense as a modern take on the standards; that’s hyperfolk I guess. More please.
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