The Desert Line – You and the Earth, You and the Sea
Indie Rock | Americana | Art Rock
It isn’t often you come across an album as difficult to categorise as the debut from this Californian quintet. Containing elements of everyone from Arcade Fire to Beck, Mac DeMarco to Sufjan Stevens, The Band to The Beach Boys, theirs is a sound that is nigh on impossible to pin down. ‘Banquet and Chorus’ makes great use of the brass section and backing harmonies to build a welcoming atmosphere before the cacophonous climax, the stripped back ‘Be Less Bitter’ adds a slow and soulful ballad into the mix, and album highlight ‘Wandering Dreams’ stands out as a clear hit with it’s uplifting guitar tones. It is the dreamlike ‘Gifts of Ignorance’ however that perhaps best shows what this album has to offer, with its laidback psychedelica, great interplay between the male and female vocals and the general myriad of different sounds just waiting to be discovered to keep you on your toes.
With any debut album there is a need to define your sound, especially so with a release as eclectic as this. The band have cast their nets out far and wide to catch as many diverse styles as possible, now however the band need to reel in and assess their catch to look at which of their musical experiments worked best. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel, all that’s needed is a bit of fine tuning. With the album pursuing numerous different genres with reckless abandon, the record lacks cohesion. While the songs are excellent in their own right there’s nothing here to suggest that they belong together, which damages the flow of the record. Teething problems aside, it is a promising release, full of fascinating little nuances, and I’m eager to see where the band go next on their whimsical adventures.