The first pick of the summer, is a strange band form Tokyo, She Talks Silence. Minami Yamaguchi started the band in 2009 as a solo project, then she opted for a duo and maybe also a trio, until she has recently returned to a solo project.
The new album is entitled “Sorry I Am Not” and, in fact, it’s really hard to say what it is. Perhaps, the best way to picture how it sounds is to imagine drone-rock lullabies tinged by buzzy guitars and nervous beats, sometimes interrupted by sudden whooshes of noise. Do you get it? Mmm… don’t worry, let’s try to walk you through it step-by-step: lay the post-rock pastry in a pan and add a hint of Jesus and Mary Chain, six drops of electronic anxiety, a bunch of ultra-jazz, a tip of cacophonic shoegaze and a vocal cord of Alessandra Contini. Just put everything in the oven, and serve it smothered with Yamaguchi’s half-whispered, half-sung vocals: that’s it!
Fascinating, isn’t it? Unmistakably, it hits our musical g-spot. In particular, the way Yamaguchi’s tiny voice is almost overwhelmed by the music tension is both distressing and mesmerizing. There are serious suspicions that she was kidnapped by an alien nightmare while singing a catchy melody in the intimacy of her quiet bedroom. (rating: 3,5 stars out of 5)
The second pick is the full-length debut “#1 hit single” by Cende, a quartet from Brooklyn formed in 2013. They play a conflicted melodic rock which sometimes becomes dream-pop. Take for example “What I Want”, the longest track of the album (and, up to now, probably the best song of 2017): from the very beginning, bright vocal harmonies and power pop anthems take the shape of a catchy earworm; moreover, at the second verse, guitars light up alongside a soft string section and drums temporarily drop down to make room for guest vocals from Greta Kline of Frankie Cosmos (18 ranking in the 2016 top 20 albums according to Musicazzotto Nellorecchio); at this point, when song seems ready to end, a swirl of rough guitar riffs storms into the melody for almost a minute, probably to evoke past demons, and then a cathartic choral third verse actually seems to resolve the conflict in renewed harmony. Let’s listen to it: it lengthens for five minutes, but it’s going to be worth your time.
The other songs of the album are also pulled between knotty emotional terrain and a more light-hearted “pop” disposition, but although they are undoubtedly ”good pieces of work”, honestly they remain a cut below “What I Want” (rating: 3,5 stars out of 5)