Every once in a while you have to put away the Morbid Angel and N.W.A. and just chill out. It can’t all be bloodlettings and drive-by shootings. Sometimes you need a breathy voice and a mellowed-out vibe to bring you back down to earth for a bit. Well, Still Corners is here to do just that. They’ve just released their newest long player Strange Pleasures and it improves upon their 2011 debut Creatures of an Hour by not so much changing their sound, but smoothing that sound out and reinventing themselves as a cross between Mazzy Star and The Church with enough great production to give the songs a shelf life of “as long as you like, we’ll be here when you need us”.
“The Trip” is the kind of opening track that clears the way for a listen ripe with possibilities. Driving rhythm, strummed acoustic, synths bubbling underneath, and the beautifully haunted vocals of Tessa Murray clear the mind of clutter so that you can concentrate on “the trip” you’re about to take. “Beginning to Blue” is an 80s-inflected pop track. Something you would’ve heard in the Escort on the radio on your way to TCBY or Video Plus to rent Real Genius or Short Circuit 2.
Greg Hughes’ sonic structures and studio prowess play a big role in the mood created on this album. It’s a great mixture of 80s pop elements and a dreamy, drugged-out hallucination. But as far as hallucinations go, this one is quite pleasant. This London duo must’ve wowed the bearded rockers at Sub Pop with their hazy charms for sure. It’s hard to imagine a Sub Pop mixer with Still Corners rubbing elbows with METZ and Mudhoney. Then again, that could be something of a ‘peanut butter and chocolate’ moment.
“I Can’t Sleep” has a heavy Cocteau Twins vibe, ala Blue Bell Knoll territory. It’s a stunning song. “Berlin Lovers” sounds like Hope Sandoval singing over a Vangelis track. “Future Age” steps into almost Passion Pit territory, if Passion Pit wasn’t so annoying. It’s definitely the biggest sounding track on Strange Pleasures and one that should be playing over the credits of some summer blockbuster. In other words, in an alternate universe this song should be a hit. “Going Back To Strange” is a beautiful, atmospheric track; complete with finger-picked acoustic, synths hovering just underneath the mix, and that amazing voice. “Beatcity” sounds as if Kavinsky broke into the studio and remixed Still Corners. This should’ve been on the Drive Soundtrack. The album ends on the title track; a sprawling closer that opens with some Juno synth strings and keeps a Moby vibe going to the end.
You feeling kinda tense? Your job and commute has you all wigged out? Well here’s some advice, grab a beer from the fridge, put Still Corners’ Strange Pleasures on the turntable and put on some headphones. After 45 minutes if you’re not chilled and properly melted into your couch, then there’s no hope for you.
8.2 out of 10