It’s no secret that this one has been locked on the speakers over here since it reached my hands. With a handful of killer singles already out in the ether, it feels nice to let the full album stretch out this week. It’s, admittedly hard to pass up the meeting of two great psych-pop minds finding solace in their shared obsessions and both halves of the Painted Shrines duo have been longtime RSTB mainstays. Jeremy Earl and Glenn Donaldson have crossed paths many times over the years, with Donaldson releasing records under more than one moniker on Jeremy’s Woodsist label and the two sharing space in the credits of each other’s albums, but this marks the first full-on collaboration between the two. Birthed out of a restless spirit that found Earl heading cross-country from his home here in the Hudson Valley to Glenn’s West Coast studio, the two embarked on a week-long wander through the faded forms of jangle pop — from the high flying air of The Byrds 12-string heartache to the South Hemi hum of The Clean and The Bats.
Glenn’s been skewing away from the psych folk these past few years, ensconcing himself in the better end of the Sarah / Subway section of the 7” pile, and he brings some of that energy here, but certainly lets more of a fuzzed-caked froth filter onto his pop than I’ve heard in quite some time. The record alternates between heartworn pop cuts and instrumentals that lace ‘em up in a way that reminds me of Felt’s The Strange Idols Pattern And Other Short Stories, albeit without such a classical showiness. Where Deebank was looking for critical acclaim for his virtuosity, Glenn and Jeremy simply seek to balance the bittersweet and the brightness with a slight curl of psychedelic fry. Both artists have been masters of making melancholy feel like a comforting friend, filling the air with an incense that triggers feelings of home.
Those muted jangles, rain-soaked organs and oil-dipped effects give the album a woolen feel, bracing for the morning’s chill, but finding the sun peeking over the horizon and latching on. With both artists adding their singular singing styles to Heaven and Holy there are moments when Woods peek out of the corner of the eye, or The Reds, Pinks and Purples flicked on the consciousness, but its a brief flicker. In the end, they melt their styles together into an album that stands high among both their catalogs, an ache all its own.
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