The first thing that I have to say about Simian Ghost’s new album The Veil is WOW. And it takes a lot to wow me lately. I generally choose to review things that I feel positively about, but I am not so easily impressed. This album, however, is nothing short of glorious and a sparkling gem at that. If you like dreamy, swirling pop then this one is essential. And it’s 18 songs long, so it’s well-worth your music buying money.
The artist that Simian Ghost remind me of most is Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys. The harmonies here are reminiscent of The Beach Boys, but they’re even more like Brian Wilson’s solo material, which has even bigger harmonies with layers and layers of vocals overlapping blissfully. So, it’s no surprise that the band has stated that the album was inspired by Wilson. Of course, they had other sources of inspiration, too, like Gershwin and Debussy, Yo La Tengo, Deerhunter, The Flaming Lips and Broadcast. To that end, it’s especially easy to hear The Flaming Lips influence in their music as it has that sort of psychedelic vibe on many of their songs.
There are so many great songs on The Veil that it’s hard to know which ones to write about. I suppose the first one I should mention is track one, “Float,” which begins with the sound of gentle waves and soon advises the listener to let go and float, which it certainly makes you do while listening to it. It’s so warm and comforting, like your favorite blanket. It just washes over you and makes your mind drift. I tried listening to it while writing this, but I couldn’t focus, the song being like a strong painkiller. It has that opiate effect on you.
The harmonies continue to be light and breezy on the second track, “Cut-Off Point,” which has bigger harmonies that blend with gorgeous rays of synth, drifting high above the guitars, bass and drums to keep you feeling like you’re floating on a magic carpet.
The first time I listened to The Veil I immediately fell in love with it from the very first song, but the first track that really blew my mind was number four, “Echoes Of Songs,” which somehow manages to have an even bigger sound with the drums higher in the mix, letting you get a buzz from the beats, making you want to get up and dance. Here, they remind me of Belle and Sebastian’s latter day material.
Sometimes the band likes to crank up the guitars and rock out and they certainly do so on “I Will Speak Until I’m Done,” which easily qualifies as pop *rock*. Here, the harmonies are still present but they take the backseat,” letting the lively guitars sweep you away.
Bass guitar dominates on “Be A Good Kid,” which is in the vein of all those golden oldies my father used to listen to before I got him into new music. The Beach Boys vibe is definitely present, too. You’d think they grew up in Southern California during the ’60’s or ’70’s. You’d never guess that they’re actually from Sandviken/Gävle, Sweden.
Listen, if you love The Beach Boys or Brian Wilson’s solo material then you’re sure to consider this album a godsend. It’s that fabulous, all 18 tracks. If, however, you’re not big on beautiful harmonies and groovy music then you should look elsewhere. They’re all about the beautiful journey here, taking you on a mind-blowing trip as they sing about love and human nature and all that good stuff. I don’t give out stars, but if I did then I would give this one five stars out of five.
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