Friday 21 February 2014

Tropic Harbour - Colour/Golden Rays

Single review by

What with the whole 2012 thing and the start of a supposed new awakening in human conciousness and evolution, is the proliferation of dreampop running against the grain of what's supposed to be happening? Or could it be that these otherworldly sounds that transport you to another place are actually part of this? Is their purpose to take our minds on a journey to different realms? Yeah, yeah, that's heavy stuff, maaaan... but dreampop and associated genres are refusing to go away, and these sounds are quite different to your regular "meat and potatoes" rock music, so maybe dreampop is a misnomer; maybe it's helping to open our minds to new ideas? The sounds that Canada's Tropic Harbour use have been around for years, but I can't remember a time when dreampop has had such a constantly high profile and been made in such quantities?

Enough possibly nonsensical ideas and thinking out loud - is Mark Berg's music any good? He'll be a new name to most people, as Tropic Harbour was only established a year ago, but he's already got a good grasp of the genre. There's still a slightly DIY feel to these tunes, but in a way that adds a welcome personal touch; the actual songs themselves are well-written, and transferring the noises in your head onto tape (or laptop or whatever) isn't an easy task. 'Colour' is the perfect name for a song which straight away lightens things up all around you. It's chiming, reverby guitars, naturally, and the vocals are soft as you'd expect. So dreampop veterans will have heard this all before, but they will also know a good track when they find one, and they will find one here. It's bright, summery, and has a few nice twists in the way it uses retro electronics to add an extra dimension. This vintage electro approach is taken further on the sparkly 'Golden Rays'; really, these songs do exactly what their names promise. It's another nicely written song and one that uses layers of sound well. There's a piercing effect to this one, and although that might seem off-putting, it actually adds character. You could argue that Tropic Harbour would benefit from a little extra polish, but that's largely down to personal preference. These two tracks are fine as they are, and we look forward to hearing this guy progress.

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