19 April 2011

Storms - lay your sea coat aside (2010, Plancha / Art Union)

"Lay you seat coat aside" is the debut album by Storms, a duo formed by Lori Scacco (Seely) and Eva Puyuelo (Savath & Savalas), but which could be almost considered as a trio, the lyrics were written by Ann Stephenson.

Lori (living in New York) and Eva (from Barcelona) met each other through their mutual friend Guillermo Scott Herren (Prefuse 73) and started a friendship which finally evolved into a successful collaboration.

They claim 70’s psych-folk influences (Linda Perhacs, Nico, Elis Regina) on their songwriting, but far from being a nostalgic attachment to the past, their music resonates with the kind of music other recent musicians like Tara Jane O'Neil, Squares on Both Sides or Thomas Méry are also exploring, something intimate and personal, avoiding self-pity and looking for a certain melancholic grace and not afraid to use some digital processing and electronics to transcend their art.

"Lay your sea coat aside" has been created and recorded during five weeks, of intensive, reclusive collaboration, in New York, using as reservoir of ideas a collection of schematic guitar pieces previously written by Lori Scacco for the purpose of a projected instrumental album. The duo slowly turned these into songs, with harmonies and vocal melodies by Eva Puyuelo, fed by and poems written on purpose by Ann Stephenson. Another reference could be This Mortal Coil, with the melancholy and tension of Eva's voice who has been able to find an identity between Lori's guitar and Ann's lyrics.

These songs seem driven by intangible events such as sudden ray of suns, summer breeze, changes in landscapes or melancholic emotions arising unexpectedly as the mind wanders. They are never too dependent of a melody, vocally or guitar driven, which if present were deconstructed into fragments and elaborated anew. Slowly as you get used to these, you'll adjust to their mood and progressively feel contaminated by these atmospheres and aesthetic perspectives. 

"Lay your sea coat aside" is not the kind of album you'll listen to and then forget, it is instead emotionally dense, yet blurry. A good example is the opening track, perfectly balanced and haunted, "Wolf and bells" which diffuses a subtle sens of apprehension finally dissolved by the delicate warmth and comfort of "Sweet cup". Another one is the bitterness of "Letter On the 44th Day" followed by the pastoral folk sunny aura of "The Shipbuilder"

Throughout this album, there is also a pleasant sense of minimalism (as on "The Forest Year") and modesty which just make the beauty of their music more precious and rare. Each tracks share its own portion of moments of grace and awe, like with "Lady Frances" or "Foxes".

With nine tracks and 41 minutes, all exploring similar areas, "Lay you seat coat aside" is a dense and coherent album, which deserves to be listened to deeply and with attention. The last track, "Para Lole" instead of closing the record, let you wish for more as the guitar finally reaches some intimate appeasement.


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