The year is still too new. Everything is bright and tender and fragile. Earlier this week, Jack wrote about the smooth sounds of CFCF’s The Colours of Life and how it’s an ideal soundtrack for the beginning of the year. It’s with a similar search for a smooth transition into 2016 that I found comfort in Birch Barks who, in abcc, offer a gentle listening experience to ease us into the harshness of the forthcoming year.
To begin, the psychedelia of “Mudma” temporarily but thankfully blocks out the sun with its thick instrumentation and sluggish beat. Out of this muck, we climb high to “Nez Peak” where the gently picked clean guitar notes clear the mind. Now with a more peaceful state of being, the softly delivered pop melody of “Bubbles” brings the sun out from the behind the clouds.
In “Gravity Straps” is where abcc‘s most comforting moments lie though. Birch Barks create a weightless soundscape of light electronics and reverberated vocals that eventually drop off into oblivion. In turn, the effect allows listeners to drop off as well. Or, better yet, “Gravity Straps” encourages us to float until we feel like it’s okay to come back to reality.
Birch Barks craft a record of soft sparseness in abcc that casts a shadow when it’s too bright and illuminates when it’s too dark. A perfect remedy for all your early 2016 problems.
Top Track: “Gravity Straps”
Rating: Strong Hoot (Good)