With Fragile Wings We Reach The Sun
With Fragile Wings We Reach The Sun is the forty-three-minute follow-up to the 2009 debut album by Ecovillage, the shoegaze outfit formed by Emil Holmström and Peter Wikström in 20006. The Swedish gentlemen have obviously well-absorbed the sounds of their shoegaze precursors but also have made an effort to establish their own psychedelic take on the genre style. Establishing the Ecovillage sound immediately, “Save Me” barrels into position, setting the album's euphoric tone in its first seconds with a widescreen attack of programmed beats, synths, chiming guitars, and ethereal, multi-layered vocals.
While “Save Me” might be representative of the Ecovillage sound, the boys are wise to change things up over the course of the album's dozen songs so as to avoid predictability. “Summer of Love,” for example, adds a new wrinkle to the album by featuring Danish singer Stine Grove in place of the regular male vocalizing. Similarly, Ecovillage uses Garett Pierce as the lead on the poppy “Before We Knew the Cross,” which sounds like a natural choice for a single. Three instrumental vignettes also add contrast to the song-based flow. The album's title track makes for a peaceful interlude, while a Robin Guthrie influence is evident in the reverb-heavy playing that appears in a track such as “Blue Guitar.” Also adding to the album's guitar-heavy sound are guests Keith Canisius (Rumskib) and Jonas Munk (Manual & Causa Sui).
The album's last quarter sees Ecovillage dialing down the intensity for a few moodpieces, specifically the instrumental “Blissfully Yours,” where the pastoral tones of a flute surface within a trippy, downtempo moodscape, and the piano-and-strings-heavy “The Gospel of Luke,” which is more like classical music than anything remotely shoegaze. If anything, With Fragile Wings We Reach The Sun suggests that it would be more accurate to characterize the Ecovillage sound as dreampop, given how much its effervescent sound is closer in spirit to bands like The Cocteau Twins and Beach House than heavier outfits like My Bloody Valentine and Ride.