(2020) Winter - Endless Space (Between You & I)
It’s nothing new for a band to straddle the line between the soft, enveloping textures of dream pop and the noisier, pedal-abusing sounds of shoegaze, plenty of artists and bands have given it a try. Some of them do a pretty decent job blending the Cocteau Twins with My Bloody Valentine; some of them can’t quite get the balance right. Over the course of a few albums, Winter showed that they were on the right track. Guided by the vision and voice of Samira Winter, they took a light and bouncy approach that felt like the brightest, happiest work of those two bands mashed together. On Endless Space (Between You & I), Samira Winter ditched her previous crew of collaborators and called in Ian Gibbs to help bring her vision to life. Gibbs plays a key role in crafting the intricate and moodily pretty music made by the band Vinyl Williams and it’s perhaps no coincidence that Endless Space (Between You & I) marks a definitive change in the band’s sound. The guitars are layered with tons of effects, Samira’s voice soars and swoops more confidently, the arrangements are fuller and more expansive, and the overall mood is much less giddy. The songs echo and swirl in always pleasing, sometimes radiant fashion, with layers of guitars, synths, and sound surrounding Samira’s gentle vocals sung in English and Portuguese. It’s a step up sonically from previous records and the writing stepped up to match. The first three tracks on the album — discounting the brief introduction — stand head and shoulders with the best modern efforts at dreamgaze. The title track is a truly lovely midtempo ballad with a heart-rending vocal from Samira and nice dynamics that range from painfully hushed to exploding in brightly strummed colors; the calm and reassuring “Here I Am Existing” bubbles and coos like birds chirping by the side of a stream on warm summer day, and “Healing” definitely lives up to its title. The gentle melody, whooshing synths, perfectly jangled guitars, and Samira’s soothing vocals work together perfectly to create a musical balm strong enough to soothe any roiling emotions. If the record had stopped there, it would have already been verging on classic. It keeps going, though, and delivers many delights along the way. The shimmeringly icy post-disco of “Say” is a nice change of pace, “Bem No Fundo” — a duet with Dinho Almeida of Boogarins — is richly constructed modern pop, “Wherever You Are” adds some crunchy guitar firepower to the proceedings, and the rest of the record feels happily introspective and dreamlike. Samira Winter and her group were making fine records before this, and now with the help of Gibbs she’s making something emotionally revealing, musically beautiful, and verging on brilliant overall.
Genre: dream-pop, indie-pop
Format/Info: Free Lossless Audio Codec, 16-bit PCM
Bit rate mode: Variable
Channel(s): 2 channels
Sampling rate: 44.1 KHz
Bit depth: 16 bits