Jan 2018 07

Miniatures - JessaminesMiniatures
Category: Shoegazer / Dream Pop
Album: Jessamines
Blurb: For their debut album, this New Zealand band makes a solid entry into the dream pop genre, but their wall of sound may be too much for the casual listener.


It’s easy to make comparisons with a band like Miniatures. With their dreamlike female vocals and ‘80s style clean guitar chords, you can pick out the sound of bands like The Cocteau Twins, The Sundays, and Lush… and these comparisons are not unfounded as the band actually listed these bands as influences. But what sets Miniatures apart from those bands comes not from the individual components of the music, but how those sounds are produced and put together.

Vocalist Annemarie Duff is dominant throughout the album. She has the classic airy and surreal quality that comes with shoegazer music, but she uses more reverb than her peers to the point where the lyrics are unintelligible for most of the album. They become a hypnotic instrument used to paint the mood onto the rest of the sounds. There is also a prominent amount of a clean rhythm guitar with a delay effect on almost every track, while the second guitar bounces back and forth between adding another layer of rhythm, like on the tracks “Try” and “To the Lake,” and adding fuzzed out distortion like on “Dust” and “Honey.” The band even goes as far as to have a guitar solo in the track “Without Saying.” All of this is done well, but the way the songs are mixed make it so each song has very little in the ways of peaks and valleys. Nothing is allowed to stand out from the rest of the sounds at any given point. The vocals are allowed to stand out a little, but when you combine their ethereal effect with delayed and sometimes fuzzy guitars and everything feeling equally subdued, you end up with a wall of noise that can take some work to penetrate. However, this is not unlike the effect created by bands like My Bloody Valentine.

More casual fans of the dream pop and shoegazer genres may find that this album requires a bit more work than usual to navigate, but like My Bloody Valentine, there is an audience waiting to put in that kind of work.
Track list:

  1. Try
  2. Jessamines
  3. To the Lake
  4. Form into Soft and Wild
  5. Dust
  6. Without Saying
  7. Honey
  8. What You Want
  9. Silent Tide
  10. Slow
  11. Standstill

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Saint Marie Records
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Purchase at:
Amazon CD
Amazon MP3
Amazon Vinyl
Doug Leach (nowandforalltime)

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