The Stargazer Lilies: We Are the Dreamers
Graveface Records

In which John Cep (guitar, drums) and Kim Field (vocals, bass) bid farewell to their former band, the NY-based five-piece Soundpool, and say hello to the less ferocious but no less striking project The Stargazer Lilies. With live drummers EJ DeCoske and Johnny Lancia in tow, the group's debut album We Are the Dreamers situates itself somewhere between woozy dreampop and half-speed shoegaze. In general, The Stargazer Lilies like their blissed-out anthems slow and their airy vocals and guitars awash in an ocean of reverb and effects. At the center of the storm is Field's angelic voice, which somehow manages to remain audible despite the massive beehive thrum of guitars and drums that surrounds it.

The opening, manifesto-styled title track truly does come across as a statement of purpose, with Field's lighter-than-air vocals floating over a raw undertow of blinding guitar blaze and percussion, with all of it delivered at a druggy tempo and presented in a production design so thick it verges on opaque (huge, too—so much so that Field's voice almost disappears during “Undone”). The group's dreampop / shoegaze style is at its most potent during “Del Rey Mar,” a pop jewel whose ballad-like gentility is offset by raw guitar thrum, and “Sad Coloured Tears,” whose expression of heartbreak is complemented by a backdrop that's sympathetic but not overwhelming. The shoegaze crush of “Endless Days” and awesome buzzsaw drone of “Light of Day” might remind some listeners of My Bloody Valentine—in a good way—while the breathy splendour of “Don't Waste My Time” hints at Lush as an influence. Adding to the recording's appeal, the ex-Soundpool members' affinity for concision remains, with this consistently strong collection weighing in at a svelte thirty-six minutes.

October 2013