Label: Mystery Buildings
Brooklyn-based quintet Snowmine return to the game this month with Dialects, their sophmore release. The band formed out of a “longtime friendship” between lead singer/writer Grayson Sanders and a cast of four other musicians. For this release, the group will forego a traditional aritst-label relationship, choosing to self-release and crowdsource funds to earn back some of the money spent recording the album.
Clocking in at less than two minutes, the opening track “To Hold An Ocean” is a sort of prologue to the forthcoming journey, which begins with “Rome”. The most exciting thing about Dialects is that it doesn’t hold back any ideas, and this becomes clear as quickly as the second track. “Rome” is without question the strongest song on the album: mid 70s synth pads swell atop a motorik backbeat, sounding vaguely reminiscent of an early Stereolab track without biting their style in an overt way. Following “Rome” is “Columbus”, a track that’s in tune with contemporaries working in the same genre – think pop-influenced EDM acts like Hot Chip. Despite these comparisons, Snowmine takes their songs in unexpected directions and makes the changes feel completely natural, an impressive feat in itself.
Both “Rome” and Columbus” feature brief passages of bowed string instruments, which is another indicator of the direction the rest of the album follows. Dialects constantly walks a fine line between electronic and orchestral pop, while never completely leaning to either side. This is not meant to imply that Snowmine suffer from an identity crisis – the labour put into each song is clear. The band speaks for themselves in their press release, informing the listeners that there are no ‘foreign’ samples on the album. Every single sound and orchestral movement was written and recorded by the band, which is another example of a group disregarding modern recording technology to create an end product that feels much more authentic.
The good outweighs the bad on Dialects – so much so that there are more great moments than there is room in this review to write about them. The retro-futurist instrumental “Saftey In An Open Mind” is one of many other highlights amongst the 11 tracks. Dialects is a strong record delivered with no pretension, and you can rest easy knowing your money goes right back into the band’s pocket. What are you waiting for?