After long spans of time between their releases — 6 years between Xuvetyn and Glissceule, and then 7 years after that until Chorus — Lovesliescrushing had a bumper year in 2010. Not only was their long-awaited Girl.Echo.Suns.Veils retrospective released, but they also released the Avianium companion album as well as the CRWTH remix album. It brought the band, arguably one of the most experimental and abstract artists in the shoegazer realm, back into the genre’s limelight.
So what do they do after such a banner year? Why, release a “virtual” 7″ that finds them going back to what they do best: creating another batch of shapeless, abstract, and ultra-ethereal compositions made up of nothing more than the ghostly remains of Scott Cortez’ guitar manipulations and Melissa Arpin-Duimstra’s voice. It’s a formula that has served them well over the last two decades, and while it might seem old hat for the duo, subsequent listens to EverythingIsChemical Virtual 7″ No. 7 still reveal some fascinating soundscapes.
You’ll never find anything remotely resembling a chorus, melody, or riff in these three songs. Rather, just a constantly evolving and shifting kaleidoscope of glass-like guitar drones with the barest hints of distortion and feedback, and vocals that seem almost primal in how they hint at words, speech, and language. But even though the three songs lack any real semblance of structure aside from a beginning and an end, there’s still an emotional pull at play here. There’s something almost captivating in their abstractions, in much the same way that patterns of sunlight can hold you mesmerized as they dance across your floors and walls.
That being said, there’s something especially arresting in how “Brightblueskies” builds and grows like some long-awaited dawn breaking forth over a frozen tundra. Arpin-Duimstra’s voice is more pronounced here than the other tracks, even if no less intelligible, and the additional human aspect proves beguiling. There are moments where her voice seems at odds, even out of tune, with the drones that surround her. It proves a little unnerving, but at the same time, ultimately transfixing. “The Way Of The Sea [Deep Blue]”, on the other hand, adopts a heavier, darker tone, casting Arpin-Duimstra as an underwater siren whilst the guitars evoke dark, endless watery depths. (I wonder how this song would work as a companion piece to Gavin Bryars’ The Sinking of the Titanic.)
Glissceule still remains my favorite Lovesliescrushing release. But EverythingIsChemical Virtual 7″ No. 7 — which can be downloaded for free — is another solid entry in the Lovesliescrushing catalog, and a good starting point for those wanting to explore the duo’s otherworldly sounds for the first time. And hopefully, it’s a sign of continued productivity from a band that has been all-too prone to long spans of silence in their career.