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Sungaze — This Dream
(Bandcamp no#, 2021, DL / LP / CD)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2022-03-13

This Dream Cover art

The Cincinnati-based duo of Ian Hilvert and Ivory Snow offer, in both their band name and the title of this album, strong clues to the nature of the music herein. Dreamy sounds abound throughout the eight tracks, with calming mysterious vocals, a powerful post-rock instrumental approach, sometimes light and airy, other times heavy and dark with mystery; there’s no doubt that this band exists in some kind of time warp, bulding on the shoegazer styles so prevalent in the 90s. Sungaze brings that all back like it was just yesterday and adds plenty more to it. For the record the band began life as a quartet but today only the core duo remains, with Hilvert playing guitar, bass and drums, Snow playing keyboards and guitar, and both sharing the vocals — sometimes together, sometimes apart, but always dreamy and cloaked in mystery. The instrumentation exists mainly in support of the songs and the vocals, there are some solos and occasional wholesale shifts in dynamics, but in general it’s like a huge wall of sound that supports the voices. “Strength in Softness” is one of the more standout tracks among the eight, the jangly echoey guitars and minimal rhythm supporting Snow’s solo voice; the resulting sound is a warm cascade of sonic beauty that surrounds and engulfs the listener. Opener “Look Away” begins softly with a dreamy keyboard patch and guitar supporting Hilvert’s soft voice for the first couple minutes, then the song erupts with a jangly wall of sound supporting both singers, interspersed with some intermittent guitar soloing. In some of the songs one can hear a bit of David Gilmour influence in the solos exemplified by “Change Will Come,” though applied in a unique way to the vision at hand. Fans of bands like Lycia, Love Spirals Downwards, Soul Whirling Somewhere, or any of a number of 4AD bands might do well to check out Sungaze.

Filed under: New releases, 2021 releases

Related artist(s): Sungaze

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