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Artist of the Month
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June 2016
Pinkwash
"Collective Sigh
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Solemn resonance slides the door open to “No Real Witness,” the opening track from Pinkwash’s debut album, Collective Sigh. The much-anticipated LP from the prog-punk combination of Joey Doubek and Ashley Arnwine is available via Don Giovanni Records, and takes little time to develop its emotively-charged release, as the unrelenting battering of percussion unites with those eerie key/synth tones, uncorking the aggression. And with a surge, “Metastatic” jumps out with a sense of controlled high-speed rhythm. The guitar riff and percussion weave in a tightly bound flow, giving way in moments to Doubek’s soaring, lingering vocal outcry. The deep stemming personal feel and weight of his lyrics are thrust forward as the instruments smash ahead.
 
The instantaneous groove of “Gumdrop” surrounds you in a steady power-exuding bounce. The kinetic energy is infectious as that locked-in guitar pattern and pummeling snap of percussion mesmerizes, and Doubek delivers a set of serious-toned yet matter-of-factly-delivered lines: “Feeling of going down, shot to the ground, you’ll have to put me down”. Keys slice through that hypnotic attack like a bright, omen-echoing light.
 
The album takes a moment to breathe as “inhale, exhale” is methodically repeated in “Sigh,” while anticipating the foreboding guitar that emerges gradually from the background, with an upper-cutting sledgehammer of sludgy instrumentation. “Walk Forward With My Eyes Closed” - much like the rest of album - appears to hit on the pain and grief of deep and profound loss. That musical push toward coping is surrounded by the encompassing walls of heavy sonics that gather momentum as Doubek musters up strength. “I’ll walk forward with my eyes closed.”
 

With a thunder-smashing yet deeply personal side, Collective Sigh etches its message at the core, transforming the power of grief into a heavy–hitting memorable display of emotion. - Michael Colavita

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The Deli Philly’s October Album of the Month: Soft Fall - Sun Airway

The Deli Philly’s October Album of the Month: Soft Fall - Sun Airway

Versailles and French Surrealism are cited as influences for Sun Airway’s sophomore full-length album, Soft Fall. Yeah, pretty much: with lush arrangements and massive textures of sound, Soft Fall, is a giant, gorgeous record decked with chopped-up classical music samples and hooks that envelop the listener. Sun Airway’s all-encompassing sense of maximalism echoes what M83 did last year on Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming, making the familiar, comfortable turns of pop music vibrant and fresh by infusing some reverb and a soothing synth-tone. The result is a record that feels safe - not safe in the sense that it’s dull and afraid to take risks, but safe in the way that home feels safe, in the way you know the roads, the haunts, the people, and intrinsically understand that you’re not in any danger.
 
Yep, we’re in dream-pop territory, and Sun Airway’s Jon Barthmus plays admirably to the genre’s strengths. Guitar and keyboard lines come together like coast and tide - the line definitely there but impossible to define. Governing it all is Barthmus’ smooth, breathy baritone, which is seductive without flair for dramatics. On album highlight “Close,” he sighs “you’ve never known loneliness before/I tried to get close to you,” which sounds pretty glum, but the song itself is practically ecstatic. The work on that is done by breakneck drums, an impressionistic Cure hook and a guitar occasionally squealing gleefully in the background. Barthmus’ understated vocals give the song room to soar, and soar it does; it’s an absolutely killer tune. Instrumental interludes are scattered throughout the LP guiding you to and from other standouts on the record like “Wild Palms” and “Symphony In White No. 2” (that also appeared together last year on the 7” vinyl single that followed the band’s beautiful debut Nocturne of Exploded Crystal Chandelier).
 
As is often the case with dream-pop, the sonic palette that washes melodic lines together eventually extends to the songs themselves, and while Soft Fall is never boring, the distinctions between individual tracks become less and less vital as the album gels into one solid artistic statement, which makes Soft Fall a perfect little record to escape with. It’s a great way to drop menial anxieties for nearly 45 minutes and enter a pleasant state where nothing will frighten you and you’re comfortably safe as can be making any fall more enjoyable as you take in the sights from above. Soft Fall officially drops tomorrow via Dead Oceans. - Adam Downer
 

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