Saturday 25 January 2014

Lykanthea + Savage Sister - Sundrowned

EP review by

As you may have guessed, being the bright spark that you are, Lykanthea + Savage Sister is a collaborative project. So firstly, here's some background. Lykanthea is the solo project of Lakshmi Ramgopal, an experimental musician living in Chicago who specialises in electronic, ambient and darkwave music, which makes her the perfect match for Savage Sister who are also based in Chicago but originate from Illinois. This trio generally lurk in similar sonic realms, favouring the closely related dreampop and shoegaze genres; so the convergence of this quartet of musicians all seems like it should run like clockwork, and it does, with four ambient dreampop songs for which reviewers will forever be chastised for describing as "ethereal". Sorry guys, but that's just how it goes.

The short intro of 'Glass Orchids' is a little like waking from a dream; you're not fully in the real world yet but there is an awareness and a feeling of warm, comforting safety. 'Naked' takes this sound and adds to it with swathes of human voices drifting in and out of the mist. Whether or not any actual lyrics are involved is difficult to discern, but as an echoing beat appears it doesn't really matter, because you're still floating up in the clouds in a comforting daze. The gradual stirring continues and 'Sundrowned' slowly begins to wake. The hazy 'Orphan Wild' uses similarly lush sonics to those that made Slowdive such a great band, and here the volume, pace and vocals are all allowed to break through more. There are lyrics, but what they are is virtually impossible to decipher; the voices are as much an instrument as anything else. Perhaps the best track is left for last. 'Diving' is awash with synths, all layered over each other and with electronic beats sharply reverberating in the background as those ghostly voices lurk deep in the murk of the song. 'Sundrowned' is a quite beautiful EP that makes you want to go to sleep, and for once this is meant as a huge compliment.

Lykanthea's website

Savage Sister's website

Stream or download the EP

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