Dreamy Detroit indie rock foursome FAWNN premiered their first single off of their anticipated forthcoming sophomore album Ultimate Oceans on Stereogum last week. An iridescent pop track reminiscent of Washed Out meets a sedated The New Pornographers,”Galaxies” is familiar and satisfying yet feels defeated. “Galaxies” is prom night for mid to late twenty-somethings who sway in misguided unison to the shared disenchantment of young love turned static: the death of the honeymoon phase. Listless imagery painting spacial comparisons between intimacy and celestial phenomena is nothing new, and FAWNN struggles to breathe sincerity into this very evocation. What “Galaxies” DOES provide, however, is the aural equivalent to the ambivalence of drinking overly spiked punch, texting your ex a sad version of “hey” and half-heartedly hoping you don’t end up going home alone. The bass line is lulling and instinctual and when paired with the droll delicacies of the vocal harmonies, “Galaxies” creates more distance than it fills. This is likely an intentional sensation as the stand out lyric “Now that we’re allowed to touch/it’s over/Galaxies inside” encapsulates simply the boredom and painful loss of fascination when a love/like has run its respective course. Maybe that’s what makes “Galaxies” a frustrating listen. Maybe it yanks on that dark inner mess that we have been meaning to clean up but just haven’t made time for. It’s a song about passionate indifference and although successful in its glittery tones and thoughtful production, it is almost too literal in its heartbroken lethargy to feel anything more than “meh.”
Space out with the first taste from FAWNN’s latest “Galaxies” below:
Multi-instrumentalist Alex Kaye and vocalist Lianna Vanicelli are Valley Hush, Detroit’s celestial pop duo whose flirtatious macabre swells in their latest single “Iris.” For a song that encapuslates escapism without sounding recklessness, “Iris” is a seamlessly produced mélange of jutting synths, animated chiming, and cosmic vocals that what at times feels like a marriage between Bollywood and Portishead on amphetamines.
“Iris” is a tempestuous seduction of straight lines and blurred edges that challenge the traditional trajectory of a sexy pop song. If rolling your hips in slow motion had a soundtrack, this would be it. In its provocation, “Iris” never feels cheap or expected. The track exudes an aural illusion of time being rewound and fast forwarded simultaneously, and reveals glimpses of the complete real-time picture, reminding us that the beauty of the track is in its visual symphony. Paired with the imaginative orchestration, Vanicelli’s voice quivers with a spacial lucidity through the airy phrasing of the lyrics: “I know that it can be hard to wake up/sometimes the nights are moving slow/you think you’re dying alone /and I know how the highs get low.”
There is never a moment in “Iris” that feels nostalgic. This comes as a compliment. Valley Hush found a space between the present and future, crafting a sensual purgatory that is as sincere as it is politely hedonistic.