Over the last couple of years the music world seems to have become saturated with mediocre dream pop and shoe gaze artists. Just putting some delay on your voice and chucking in a load of guitar effects really isn’t enough. Great dream pop needs strong melodies, well considered composition and magical production. Enter Winter with her new album ‘Endless Space (Between You & I)’.
Samira Winter was half one of our favourite single releases of 2018, Winter & Triptides Amiga. It’s a superb piece of fuzzy 60s inspired Tropicalia, which served as our introduction to Winter’s soft breathy vocals. The album ‘Estrella Magica’ was also one of the first we reviewed.
Winter released two EPs, ‘Infinite Summer’ and ‘Hazy’ in 2019 and is back with her second full length solo album. The title immediately resonates in this COVID19 world. This is, of course, completely by chance having been recorded before the outbreak. So what of the music?
Stylistically ‘Endless Space’ is consistently dreamy and ethereal.
Opener Between You & I is a trippy introduction, full of swirling technicolour backwards sounds and vocals. A heady psychedelic track that, when reversed (yes we did this), reveals itself to be a soupy outtake of the following title track.
Endless Space (Between You and I) features simple vibrato-laden keyboard hooks, a beautiful vocal melody, washing chords and phasing wind effects in its careful composition. It comes across like My Bloody Valentine if they were stripped of their heavy disorientating noise. It’s mystical, otherworldly.
This is contrasted by Here I Am Existing, which provides a little more clarity through upbeat drums, chiming guitars and atmospheric synths. It shares a lot in common with the much missed Broadcast in its melody and over all atmosphere. Winter’s vocals sit somewhere between Trish Keenan and Kristín Anna Valtýsdóttir of Múm. There is a simply stunning and quite unexpected drop to half time around the 1 minute 25 mark.
The melodies throughout the album are exceptionally strong.
Tracks like Healing and Constellation are straight out of the Greta Kline (Frankie Cosmos) melodic handbook. Of course, Winter’s voice is very much her own. Her pixie-like almost-whisper is enhanced by swirling atmospherics and playfully manipulated delay on Healing. Constellation also indulges in that warped down tuning effect that My Bloody Valentine fans will be familiar with.
In The Z Plane mixes things up. It’s largely lo-fi and acts as a well timed breather. Initially, the only accompaniment at first to the guitar and vocal is the sound of flowing water. This is until soft subtle electrics accentuate the chorus on what is the most delicate composition on the album.
There are TripHop elements at points.
Say, will probably appeal to fans of Portishead and, more recently, Crumb, with its grooving bass and effected drums.
Winter switches language to Portuguese for a duet with Boogarins’ Dinho Almeida on the excellent Bem No Fundo. The duet is really nicely pitched. Their voices work seamlessly together. The instrumental tune, meanwhile, is carried by a catchy keyboard melody and Grandaddy-esque arpeggios in the chorus. It sounds like they had fun making it, even adding a simple, fuzzy guitar solo.
Oddly, the sleepy Memoria Colorida also recalls Dinho Almeida’s Boogarins when it kicks in towards the end. The aquatic sounding, wet delay sounds and beautifully recorded guitars take a grungy turn, with fuzzy guitars and glorious feedback.
Wherever You Are follows. It’s a plodding 4/4 ballad with waspy synths and modulated guitar lines that recall Tortoise. It swirls and fizzes towards the end but gets cut off quite abruptly before it really gets going. The melody and warped atmospherics of closer Pure Magician shares a lot in common with Atlas Sound’s ‘Shelia’. A suitably dreamy ending to a gorgeous album packed with great melodies, intricate, glistening production and hypnotic arrangements.
Dream pop as it should be.
‘Endless Space (Between You & I)’ is released 24th July via Bar None.
You may enjoy this if you like:
Broadcast, Mum, My Bloody Valentine, Atlas Sound, Crumb, Boogarins