Buffalo’s real Wilderness

I seem to find it most difficult to write about an album when I like it very much, as if no paragraph could equal the emotions triggered by certain sounds. In a desperate attempt to do it right and make sense, phrases are rewritten, influences are infinitely googled, my music library is assaulted in a frenetic need to find something to RIYL it with. The truth is that sometimes, there just isn’t anything to really compare it with; sometimes one should be just happy taking a reader through an album, step by step, as you do with a child learning to walk, which is what I’ll do in the next couple of lines with Cemeteries‘ rather wonderful The Wilderness.

Cemeteries is a one-man show hailing from Buffalo, NY; though it feels lighter than the band name would let anyone presume, his debut The Wilderness was nevertheless created in a place surrounded by woods, empty parking lots, a green-and-grey wasteland. Flirting with soundscapes, it spans from dream pop to shoegaze, subconsciously building on 80′s new wave, as is hinted in the title track and most apparent late into the album with Brighter Colors. From the very first track Young Blood, Kyle Reigle relies on guitars, synths and a hint of drums to enhance his reverberating, echoing vocals. A song like What Did You See? feels, in comparison, like an instrumental track from the beginning on, because that is where most its strength lies; not necessarily in the vocals themselves, but in the questions asked between the lines, in the escalating notes of the chorus, as the distorted voice turn into an abstract instrument, not unlike the Danish Sleep Party People. Summer Smoke, with its slow, lazy feel, takes much from dream pop in the rhythmical drums and repetitive synths, whereas one of the sunnier tracks, Leland, relies much on choruses that come crashing like waves to achieve that similar effect. Throughout the record, one feels the pull of nature, not necessarily because of the unintelligible texts, but because of the visual metaphors each title recalls; The Wilderness pushes the listeners to go explore their surroundings, going further into the forest, leaving the city behind.

Cemeteries could produce the soundtrack to a sunnier Twin Peaks; taking on the inheritance of bands such as M83, Beach House and Seapony, carving itself a niche between Pandit and Gem Club, The Wilderness is at once frighteningly good and surprisingly light and meditative.

The Wilderness comes out October 23rd on Lefse Records; in the meanwhile, you can listen to the title track as a preview on soundcloud, and pre-order the album here.

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