Us & Them — From the Corner of My Eye
(Mega Dodo MEGA17, 2018, 7")
Us & Them — On Shipless Ocean
(Mega Dodo DODOCD29, 2018, CD / LP / DL)
by Henry Schneider, Published 2018-05-09
Our favorite Swedish gothic psych / acid folk duo has two new releases on Mega Dodo Records this April and June: a 7-inch single, From the Corner of My Eye, and their second full-length album, On Shipless Ocean. From the Corner of My Eye is their follow-up to last year’s EP When I Was Walking, and contains four delicately beautiful and wistful acid folk songs. The title track and “When Life Begins” are original songs that take you on a magical journey through the filtered sunlight of a deep forest. “The Iron Maiden” was written by Wolly Wolstenholme with Astor Wolfe joining Britt on vocals, Dag Strömberg on flute, and Erik Håkansson on drums for a dreamy excursion into the realm of faerie and unapproachable love. The closing song is a psychedelic reading of David Bowie’s “All the Madmen” where Us and Them take you on a fantastic magic carpet journey through vibrant kaleidoscopic colors, floating past Pink Floyd and Syd Barrett.
On Shipless Ocean features 10 additional songs plus a remix of “From the Corner of My Eye.” In contrast to the EP, the album sound is crystal clear, showcasing Britt’s beautiful and captivating voice. The album opens with “The Trees and Sky Above,” a great introduction to the album with Britt’s dreamy vocals. The second track, “From the Corner of My Eye” is 20 seconds longer than the EP and not quite as gothic. “A New Life” continues the magical journey, integrating understated bubbly synths into the mix. The fourth track is their longest song to date, a cover of Kevin Ayres’ “Lady Rachel.” Clocking in at 10 minutes, this masterpiece of dark gothic psych is mostly instrumental, with Britt relating an eerie tale, that reminds me of Crystal Jacqueline’s cover of The Troggs’ “Cousin Jane.” “Changes and Choices” is Britt at her saddest and most forlorn. “People Like Us” is a catchy but fragile love song with the lyric, “I stayed for summer, you stayed for life.” The album ebbs and flows, taking us in new directions with “Time,” a melodic tic-toc waltz and possibly a theremin. The only true instrumental on the album is the short "Extract from the 17th of November’ with its electronics, steady beat, bells, and chimes. The other long song on the album is the 9½ minute “Tail,” an acid folk lullaby with subtle electric guitar and dark Mellotron. The exquisite “She Is Not Me” and the spooky “We Are Not Alone” close the album. Us and Them continue to produce gently infectious and excellent music. And if you have yet to experience their music, here is your opportunity.
Related artist(s): Us & Them
SoundQuest Fest 2021 – SoundQuest Fest, first experienced as a live festival in Tucson Arizona in 2010 was created by ambient music pioneer Steve Roach. This 2021 event will unite a worldwide gathering of artists and audience members together for a 3-day online event unique in the realm of ambient music. From March 26-28th a continuous flow of streamed performances, audio-video wonder worlds and deep immersion zones will burn bright on Roach’s YouTube channel. » Read more
Chick Corea RIP – The sad news has reached us that Chick Corea has Returned to Forever, so to speak. The innovative keyboardist and composer died on February 9 at the age of 79. With a career that spanned from the 60s until shortly before his death, Corea touched many listeners with the incredible variety of music he produced in his lifetime. » Read more
Asia Minor Third Album on the Way – On January 29, AMS records will be releasing the long-awaited third album by classic Turkish-French band Asia Minor. Released last year in Japan, this will be the widespread debut of Points of Libration. The album features original members Setrak Bakirel (vocals, guitar) and Eril Tekeli (flute, guitar). » Read more
Harold Budd RIP – Harold Budd, one of pre-eminent American composers of avant-garde and minimalism, has died of complications from the coronavirus. Budd came to prominence in the 70s, championed by Brian Eno on his Obscure Records label, with music that blended academic minimalism with electric jazz and electronic music. Much of Budd's best known work was done in collaboration with other artists, including Eno, Daniel Lanois, Robin Guthrie, Andy Partridge, John Foxx, Jah Wobble, and many others. » Read more