A long time ago, probably 1994, a friend and me got caught in this torrential downpour while walking the parking lot at high school. We took cover inside her Ford Taurus and we tried to have a long conversation about nothing and everything to idle the storm’s duration. Well, the rain fell so hard that our conversation was drowned and instead we just turned up the radio and heard music that got transformed by a dreamlike wave of white noise created by the raindrops hitting the roof of the car.
Letting Up Despite Great Faults‘ Neon brought that memory back. The car stereo was loud enough to help the music prevail over the rain noise, but you still had that distant sound enveloping everything. Conversely, the songs in Neon do have a sizeable portion of Shoegaze, but it’s a lean serving, just enough to make it more of a warm hug and less of an awkward cuddle.
Neon does not have any underlying surprises nor it meanders along. It’s fast, it’s direct and it’s never too blunt. There’s an urgent sense of nostalgia and longing but it won’t allow itself to indulge into mopey wallowing. The familiarity of album opener ‘Shift’ evolves nicely, setting up the stage for ‘Wrapped’, ‘Automatic’ & ‘Gold’, a trifecta of addictive pop. ‘Ride’, however outshines this trio, a pretty Herculean feat to do.
‘Yours’ splits the album in two (I assume it’s the last song of side a – I’m streaming this album so I might be fibbing) and ‘Secrets’ teases you, lasting just a quick breath and flying away like a falling star. Annah Fisette takes main vocals on the gorgeous ‘Bishops’, a song with a firm grasp on the realm of electronic dream pop and is another highlight of Neon. ‘Ecru’ is a wonderful instrumental segue that sports some haunting playground noises way in the back; the sounds of childhood flashing by just enough to bring a memory but not too permanent to distract you from now.
I won’t lie to you. I’m very partial to dreampop and shoegaze and I am a fan of this band and I think that developing a few of the ideas from 2012’s excellent Untogether while keeping a tight pace make Neon a enjoyable ride through old tapes and memories; a brief moment of respite to get some strength and look for pastures new.
Words: Sam J. Valdés López