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Here We Lie by Slow Salvation (Review)

One of Velvet Blue Music’s dreamiest releases to date. Which, given the label’s extensive catalog, is saying something.
Here We Lie - Slow Salvation

While you should never judge a book by its cover, sometimes you can — and should — judge an album by its cover. Take, for instance, Slow Salvation’s debut, Here We Lie. We see a woman posing in reverie, her eyes closed and hands raised as smoke, shadows, and rays of light swirl around her, a haunting image that communicates both ethereal calm and languid menace. Which is a pretty accurate summation of Travis Trevisan (Tape Deck Mountain) and Christina Hernandez’s (Orion Lake) hazy dream pop.

The title track immediate fulfills the cover artwork’s promise, setting the album’s mood with languorous rhythms and layers of spectral guitar. Meanwhile, Hernandez’s voice straddles the line between “little girl lost” and “world-weary torch singer” as she sings lyrics that are by turns poignant and creepy (e.g., “Say you’ll come over/Stars will collide/Thought we’d be older/Aged like a wine”).

This study in contrasts remains constant throughout the album’s eight songs and 38 minutes, with nearly every song following the same essential formula: Hernandez’s airy voice drifting and sighing amidst washes of effects-laden guitar and shadowy atmospheres. It’s a formula for music drenched in as much nostalgia and otherworldliness as it is reverb and delay, and it works every. Single. Time.

It’s worked well for the likes of Mazzy Star, Starflyer 59 (or rather, Starflyer 2000, for you real ones out there), Beach House, and Julee Cruise. (Indeed, if you can’t imagine Audrey Horne swaying to and fro during “Grow,” “Carousel,” or “When You Close Your Eyes,” then I’m not sure we can be friends.) And now along comes Slow Salvation, who prove themselves adept at it, as well.

Here We Lie is easily one of Velvet Blue Music’s dreamiest releases to date, which is really saying something given the label’s extensive catalog, which boasts releases from LN, Bon Voyage, Pony Express, and The Lassie Foundation (to name a few). And it further cements VBM’s status as one of modern indie-dom’s most distinctive and consistent labels.

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