Listening to Blood and Glass’s debut album, I’m still stunned to think this is their first. Partners Lisa and Morgan Moore, along with bandmates Robbie Kuster, Melanie Belair and Francois Lafontaine sound like they’ve been at this for awhile—and the collaborations they’ve pulled off on their first LP give that impression as well, grabbing help from Patrick Watson, Brad Barr, Simon and Erica Angell and Jocelyn Veilleux.
Museum With No Walls captures Lisa Moore’s breathy, ethereal vocals and pairs them up with an exhilarating and haunting mix for what they’ve dubbed Baroque pop. Even as the music feels dreamy and gentle, it gives off a surprising punch, especially on tracks like “Photograph,” that still push your body to sway and move with the tapping rhythm and eclectic blending of sounds.
The second half of the album strips away some of that dreaming, coming to life with a series of dark, pulsating tracks that feel more energetic than the M83-style opener. Closer “Birdy” turns the familiar pattern of a lullaby into an ominous chant while “Bad Dreams” revisits their talking opener with urgency. Everything starts to feel stronger and more present as the album progresses, abandoning the lingering, whispish quality of the earlier tracks for a sense of presence and complexity.
But while things get increasingly experimental as the album progresses, the early tracks capitalize on catchy hooks sung softly by Moore. “Paper Heart” breathes heavily into the chorus with barely-restrained emotion, and the tugging whine of the violin on the intro to “Floating Nora” sets the tone for the mesmerizing melody. Even “Inferno” captivates with subtle brushes and choir-esque humming, accenting a delicate turn to the vocals.
From electronic whirring to the shifting tones of Moore’s emotive singing there’s a multifaceted journey to Museum With No Walls. At times the fourteen tracks engage in a push and pull between truly delving into experimentation with their semi-electronic sound and taking advantage of the natural, inescapable ambience they can create when they dial things back. The one constant is the sense, long after the final note has blown away, that there was something eerie and beautiful created here.
Museum with No Walls will be released on October 21.
Top Tracks: “Paper Heart”; “Floating Nora”
Rating: Proud Hoot (Really Good)