Closing the gap in their long-distance music project and crystalizing the scope of their radiant, baroque strain of synth-pop, Raven Mahon (Grass Widow) and Mikey Young (Eddy Current Suppression Ring, Total Control) return as The Green Child. The sophomore LP has smoothed many of the discordant edges off of their recordings, without losing any of their brand of warbled weirdness. Propulsive, but staggering slightly, the songs on Shimmering Basset aren’t beholden to many of the ‘80s touchstones that normally bubble up when synth-pop is at play. The pair’s wide array of past endeavors and likely deep shelf record collections may be at the heart of the schism here, and we’re all the better for it. While Total Control is a decidedly more caustic branch of synthesizer storm, a good deal of the band’s tendency towards squirm-addled sounds makes its way into the formula on The Green Child’s sophomore outing. Likewise, while Raven’s vocals add a perfectly icy air that’s throwing the fantasy dreampop of Strawberry Switchblade into a stainless steel vortex with Siouxsie’s offshoot The Creatures, and perhaps a whiff of Altered Images.
Though they’re less straightforward than those influences might lead one to believe, the same spirit of taking pop and letting it warp nicely in the sun appears to be at work. They let their baked Flexi vibes infect the album completely, with a slight psychedelic sheen forming. It can feel as if their songs are born from beaming 8mm videos of the band playing through a wall of prisms, letting the melodies through in blurred brilliance, haloed by rainbow ripples dancing into view. The blending of jangle n’ strum with the pound of electronic pop is tightened on the new album, letting their obsessions bleed into one another as symbiotic forces rather than song to song impulses. The record is darker, with its nails dug deeper into the railing than ever before, this album opens itself wider with each relisten. It’s by no means an immediate catch — the “grower”-type of album in true form. Yet, once the band’s under your skin its hard to extract their grip from your heart nor their silvered hooks from your head.
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