It starts slow and like everything it builds. First with the looping of a guitar and then a voice and synth before the rhythm section drops down like an anvil crashing through the floor and there you have it. One of the most exciting advances of "dream pop" or pysch-ish pop or whatever you call what Lower Dens and Beach House are doing these days is that they've managed to take the best parts of two genres -- the acute heartbreaking harmonies of pop & the mystical instrumental work of psych -- and pare it down, turning it into some breathtaking tunes.
Welcome Secret Mountains to that club. Based out of Baltimore, Secret Mountains were a random Spotify find for me that turned into a bit of an obsession. Their 2010 EP Secret Mountains – Kaddish is a slow moving tour de force. So, it's one of those happy moments as a blogger when you can go from finding someone to contacting someone to finding out they've got a debut coming out and saying -- yeah, sure we'll put that up on the site.
Such is the case with "Coasting," the sneakily-ended tune that I was talking about in the first paragraph. There's something wizened about this sextet but it's going to be Kelly Laughlin's vocals which will probably catch you on the first listen. Her bright-eyed almost innocent singing can sound like a girl lost in the woods before it blends in and becomes another texture for this group to explore.
Secret Mountains debut, Rainier, will come out February 26, 2013 via Friends Records. Preorder here.