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It's been a steady uphill glide for Oslo quintet Dråpe (it's pronounced "draw-peh"). The band formed in 2010 and released their first EP the following year, five songs they say were inspired by "colorful shoegaze, dream pop weightless, sunshine, summer and love." The Norwegians were brought to our attention earlier this year with the quite brilliant free download 'Memories' (which still sounds heavenly here) and the promise of a debut album very soon. True to their word, their first full length is now available. It's called 'Canicular Days' and you should listen to it, because it's a stunning collection of all the things that inspired them. Essentially, they've lived up to their potential.
As expected, Dråpe's sound does draw heavily from the dreampop that you already know, but that's not to say they've failed to put their own slant on things, and it's definitely not to say that they don't have the songs to compete with the best. Very often a band will make sure their opening track is one of the best, as it will be many people's introduction to their music. Here that opening track is 'Blue Skies' and it begins as a lush and misty-eyes soundscape with heavenly layered vocals. Then a quick change through the gears turns it into an impressively galloping dream-gaze track. It's the impressive start we'd hoped for. The best thing about 'Canicular Days' is that they haven't put the best song first; they've made nearly everything here a best song contender.
Those vocals run through the whole album and the magical changes of pace do to. Take the surging 'I Kept Falling Asleep', and listen as it suddenly slows into an explosion of colour, taking its magic to another level. 'Sister's Eye' is built for blissfully lying back and enjoying in the sun as it steadily shifts through the gears, and 'I Don't Mind' achieves a similarly breathtaking feat.'Wanted You To Stay' and the sublime 'Hike' steer them a little closer to conventional shoegaze with wonderfully wailing guitar sounds and more of those stunning vocals. The term "dreampop" gets used regularly, but 'When You Wake Up Again' actually could be the soundtrack to a particularly relaxing dream which you'd prefer not to end at all. It's left to the unfortunate 'I Did What You've Done' (another typically great song) to signal the end of an album that you don't particularly want to finish. The music may be all soft and snuggly but as an album 'Canicular Days' is rock solid.