Review – Pure Bathing Culture, Moon Tides
– by Ria Nevada
Here’s hoping Pure Bathing Culture hasn’t grown tired of comparisons to Fleetwood Mac yet, because another one is coming their way. Plus, it’s difficult to disregard this reference considering the fantastic cover they did of “Dreams” for Mojo’s Rumours Revisited compilation.
This isn’t to say that the Portland duo’s debut record lacks originality. Moon Tides is a beautiful, nostalgic nod to ‘70s blues and soft rock, fleshed out by contemporaneous genres like dream pop and witch house. But when the soft wash of pastel chords blossom on the opening track “Pendulum”, you can’t help but imagine Stevie Nicks floating into the room in a floor-length velvet gown with Lindsey Buckingham and his perfect coif following close behind on his guitar. The album glistens with heartwarming melodies, naturally calling to mind this golden age of moving ballads.
Pure Bathing Culture’s Sarah Vesprille and Daniel Hindman, former members of Vetiver, bring a youthful energy to these timeless sounds, playfully introducing harp-like guitars and sailing synthesizer riffs on “Dream the Dare” and “Ever Greener”. Vesprille’s clear, calming vocals siphon vivid lyrics like “Folden golden, shores where you were born, fading further, colors you adored”; they paint a more hopeful, carefree alternate universe – a transportational experience for listeners. They are in a fine company of similar romantic, experimental bands including Toronto’s Memoryhouse and Brooklyn’s Heavenly Beat – that would be a triple bill that many would pay top dollar for.
The only jolting moment in the record occurs midway with the entry of “Only Lonely Lovers”, a grander baroque pop production that clashes with the following track “Scotty”, the sultry R&B dark horse of the record. Other standouts include the infectiously optimistic “Seven To One” and the album’s ghostly closing track, “Temples of the Moon”. For the most part, each lovely track of Moon Tides melts into the next making for a well-crafted, cohesive record.
Pure Bathing Culture opens for Widowspeak at Electric Owl Tuesday night (Oct 22) at the Electric Owl.