VA: Vacant Passages Volume 1
Drifting Falling

The first in a scheduled series of four EPs, Vacant Passages Volume One pairs tracks by Drifting Falling artists Oppressed By The Line, The Air Alone, and My Kappa Roots with one by Stray Dog Army's Mole Harness. Ranging from shoegaze pop and balladry to explorative guitar playing and back porch folk, the material bodes well for the volumes to come.

Much like the full-length Soft Focus, “Oceanic” by Oppressed By The Line presents three minutes of sparkling shoegaze pop with, in this case, Jon Thompson's vocal polyphony backed by a church organ and a buoyantly skipping beat pattern. The Air Alone's (Justin Burrow) “I Wish I Could Dream of Spacemen” turns the volume down for an exercise in downtempo shoegaze balladry. The song's lilting rhythm nicely complements Burrow's soft voice for most of the song until a blistering guitar shatters the quietude during the closing moments. “Meet by the River” by Mole Harness (James Brewster) contributes a characteristically entrancing guitar setting, with incandescent electric clusters eventually giving way to acoustic picking and strums. Radically different in style from the other three, “Euphemia” by My Kappa Roots (Scottish troubadour Pablo Clark) is a wistful vocal-and-acoustic guitar folk song free of any audible electronic dimension. Clark 's smoky voice and traditional folk style have more in common with someone such as Bill Callahan than either Oppressed By The Line or The Air Alone but that's part of its charm. Vacant Passages Volume One is a more than promising start so let the guessing game begin for the remaining three.

December 2008