[sic] Magazine

Death And Vanilla – To Where The Wild Things Are

Some records are like a late-night snack while others, like Death And Vanilla’s third LP, To Where The Wild Things Are, are like a ten-course, wine-matched tasting menu. Produced and recorded by the Swedish three-piece themselves and named after Maurice Sendak’s children’s book it’s a delightful collection of dreamy psyche-pop that nods to the trippy harmonies and lounge exotica of Broadcast and Stereolab, nebulous repeats and warm drones giving way to spooky lava-lamp projections.

Previous records, including the reworked soundtrack to Carl Theodor Dreyer’s 1932 classic Vampyr, have led with a chilly cinematic edge. Now 60s sci-fi bleeds into the same mix; cue then the synths for a plod through a drafty Radiophonic Workshop on “Moogskogen” and on the barely-there “Shadow And Shape”, which blossoms like indeterminate ink blottings. Pop gems gleam amidst the retro-futurist cinematics, too, Marleen Nilsson’s breathy vocal helping draw parallels with fellow Moon Glyph graduates Tara King th. and their marvellously noir Hirondelle et Beretta pseudo-soundtrack.

The tangible motorik of “The Hidden Reverse” jars somewhat from the reverie, spinning off into atmospheric Mellotron noodling, but otherwise To Where The Wild Things Are passes like a woozy lullaby, its gentle shuffle of percussion conjuring classic pop as often as baroque composition made of soothing harpsichord, wheezy organ and wind chimes. “The Optic Nerve” weaves and contorts like silk billowing deep underwater, ponderous progressions caught on the border of dream and nightmare. Vibraphone bedding music captures the spaghetti guitar strings of “Arcana” in a dreamy suspension of 60s library music, trundling along like one of Hartbeat’s gallery walks while the sumptuous “California Owls” has echoes of The Velvet Underground’s “Sunday Morning”, only overlain with cloud-gazing twinkle and the summery chirrup of an open meadow. Just lie back and drink it in.

Best track: “Time Travel”

~To Where The Wild Things Are is released in independent stores on orange vinyl April 20th 2015 on Fire Records with a wider release available in May. ~