Mar 2024 10

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This is not a particularly short ReView, and it shouldn’t be. This genre of music has had a number of releases that proved to be more substantial and enduring than we even thought they would be on first listening, records that did their job on first listen and then continued to do other jobs for us, important ones, unseen ones. Back in the day of vinyl records, I used to find it a little humbling and tragic that each play of a record wore it down. I personally destroyed a lot of copies of The Hurting by Tears for Fears, and each one died for a good cause. These records lived with us through difficult times, elevated us when we needed them the most, and inspired us to make different decisions, maybe better ones, but certainly bigger ones.

You have the opportunity to listen to one of those records for the first time again. The only difference may be that this time, you have a sense of it going in for the first time. So, if you have the time, read this… if you don’t, just listen to the record. But if you are a fan of experiences, I give you a third option: find something that moves – a car with the roof up, maybe a boat. Find something that can move you through physical space. And lie down, face up, always face up. Look up at the sky, and put on track three from this album, “One Fixed Point,” and let yourself move through the world while you watch the stars pass you, moving in and out of your vision. And really listen. Let the song explain the rest. Watch your own point of reference move and feel the power of how you interact with the universe. Let yourself control the universe itself and don’t stop or look back. Just move forward and let that destination be okay, always. Let each point be better than the past one, because it will be… if you let it.

You will feel like the entire world around you is beautiful, but more than that, you may feel like I did, that it is more beautiful with your eye in it. When you direct it, letting the past fall away and the future wind out in front of you, you make it brilliant and expansive. You make it something better than it was. You have a record in front of you that makes you feel like the entirety of it all is better with you in it. And that is no little thing to pull off in the 2020s, when we cynically scrape the ground with our eyes each morning, placing bets on which year will be worse.

But each day, we move on. We sail on.

 

Album CoverBrittany Bindrim
Album: Velella Velella
Category: Electro-pop / Industrial
Label: Metropolis Records
Release Date: 2024-03-08
Author: Jim Marcus (Mutilato)

 

The Velella Velella is also known as a “by the wind sailor.” It’s a Neuston – a creature that lives in between spaces, half in water, half in the open air. It moves forward with the confidence of the wind. They are close relatives of terror – the Portuguese Man-o-war, dangerous and poisonous colony of jellyfish. They are mysterious and beautiful, icy blue violet translucent, fascinating intrepid sailors whose journeys across the seas of the earth are perilous on days when they are not serene and hopeful. It isn’t a bad analogy for an album that feels as though it is constantly transporting you, via sail, across dense water and circumstance, beautifully, with elegance, but not without danger. It is the cousin of terror, but first and foremost, a beautiful sailor.

Powerful low end rhythms and synth notes never stop building cinematic momentum under the defining characteristic of the entire album, which is clearly Bindrim’s powerful voice, here heard as though you are hearing it mostly in your head, unaffected, without artifice, with harmonies and melodic runs that feel familiar and catchy while each time building something new. The space around her voice is bravely empty; there are no guitars or other tones that want to play in the same space as her voice, almost as if each had the good sense to stay clear and let her communicate with the raw tension and vision that she is capable of. As an artist and a person, she has proven that she doesn’t need anything but what she has to communicate.

And that constant movement keeps propelling the album forward, in ways that are uniquely appealing and inventive. This album proves over and over again that it belongs in a moving vehicle. Our experiment with track three is not over when the song ends; it’s perpetual. It loops through the record, changing each time, altering its rhythm and speed, each time creating something that moves you in multiple ways. It becomes a melodic dance record that asks you to put aside what you think you know about dancefloors and just move yourself the way you want to.

Until the very end… until the last song. That’s when this record pulls into the parking lot of an old, quiet nightclub, and Brittany Bindrim steps onto the stage and becomes something she was always made to be. This is where the lights pull up and she sings against a bed of virtual nothingness, stepping into a pinpoint light and ripping your heart out completely with “Atlas.” This is when she holds it all in the air with almost nothing in the room to hide the wealth of pure talent and commitment to the beauty and sustainability of her music and creates a song that will never go away.

Yes, this album starts powerfully and well, like a trip that you now know you were always waiting for. And each new moment in that trip gives you every reason to write home and to want more. But it’s the end of that trip that cements this as one of the most effective musical journeys you will hear this decade, because even a great trip that leaves you wanting or wondering at the end will suffer because that is what you will remember.

This should be vinyl. It should be a record that kills itself a little every time you play it, one that requires you to wait in line at Sam Goody’s one more time to get it all over again. Because by the end, it died for a good cause. I am clear about what I remember about this trip. And I think you will be too.
 

 
Track list:

  1. Obelisk
  2. Cast
  3. One Fixed Point
  4. Fever Dreams
  5. Hearsay
  6. The Well
  7. Fast
  8. Volcano
  9. Currents
  10. Atlas

 
Brittany Bindrim
Website, Facebook, SoundCloud, YouTube, Instagram
Metropolis Records
Website, Facebook, Bandcamp, YouTube, Instagram

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