pacificUV: Longplay 2

The long gestation of pacificUV's sequel to Longplay 1 is a story unto itself. Following the 2003 release of the group's debut, co-founders Clay Jordan and Howard Hudson amicably went their separate ways and, after the release of the EP EP, Jordan relocated from Athens to Portland to plan his next move. Regrouping with new recruits Mike Erwin on keyboards, Kevin Davis on guitar and drones, and Jesse Robert W on drums, Jordan now re-emerges with, yep, Longplay 2, a fifty-two-minute album that nicely showcases the band's softer and harder sides: “Orson” elegantly weaves tremolo guitars, piano, and drums across ten epic minutes of wide open plains; the graceful string playing of violinist Candace Lapp, violist Kelly Meyer, and cellist Sonja Mykleburst dramatically boosts the impact of “Alarmist” and “Ljiv,” as does Carolyn Berk's heavenly voice on the beatific “Tremolo”; and “Need” rocks a heavy shoegaze vibe with hushed vocals (“I need a new piece of anything / I need a new fix”) offset by a phalanx of scalding guitars.

Three minutes into the opening track “Alarmist,” a strange thing happens: the tempo slows and the group's languorous delivery calls to mind none other than…Pink Floyd's “Shine On You Crazy Diamond.” The drummer plays in that unembellished Nick Mason style, the pianist's chords atmospherically haunt the background just as Richard Wright's might, and the guitarist plays elegantly swooping peals that David Gilmour would be proud to call his own. Don't get me wrong: pacificUV's sound doesn't so much ape Floyd's so much as channels its spirit for a few moments. And why is that significant? Because it suggests that pacificUV isn't afraid to let its timeless sound span decades, from tracks that sound very much like products of the present era to the ‘80s and ‘90s (the shoegaze inflections of “If So” and the reverb-drenched “Tremolo,” whose slow-motion lilt recalls Mazzy Starr) and the aforesaid ‘70s when Wish You Were Here reigned. Though its elegiac tone reflects only one side of the group's stylistic range, the closer “Ljiv” is about as timeless a piece of music as one could possibly imagine.

May 2008