Review: Slow Dancing Society – Priest Lake Circa ’88

It’s been little over half a year since I reviewed the last album by Slow Dancing Society, the lengthy but often beautiful ‘The Slow And Steady Winter’. A couple of season have passed since and I can’t help thinking of weather again when I see titles like ‘The Red Summer Sun’ and ‘A Warm Glow’ appear on the follow-up album ‘Priest Lake Circa ’88’. Moreover though, musician Drew Sullivan conjures of images of the early morning quiet and the onset of cold months.

A child’s laughter can be heard beneath the shimmering layers of ‘Glimmer And Gleam’; an instrumental borne of innocence and not unlike the approach made by Epic45 for their recent releases. ‘This Lilac Life’ is more otherworldly as electronic melodies rise, fall and submerge into one another. After three relatively short pieces, ‘Sun Spots’ is the kind of slow-builder which Sullivan turned into a fine art on his last release whilst ‘Pastel Dusk’ is rich in texture. Only for the bright, colourful finale ‘The Iridesence Of Innocence’ does the pace pick up a notch yet it’s ‘The Old Summer Sun’ which is the stunning centrepiece, where the ebb and flow of the minimalist textures is perfectly judged.

So it’s another excellent performance from Sullivan. Just as his alias suggests, the music within is unrushed and graceful. ‘Priest Lake Circa ’88’ also maintains a hold on the listener throughout its near-seventy minute journey.

Web Sites:
Slow Dancing Society Artist Page on Hidden Shoal Recordings
Slow Dancing Society MySpace

Further Listening:
Labradford, Zelienople, Yellow6


1 Response to “Review: Slow Dancing Society – Priest Lake Circa ’88”

  1. 1 Headphone Commute October 13, 2008 at 1:38 pm

    Headphone Commute Review

    Slow Dancing Society – Priest Lake Circa ’88 (Hidden Shoal)

    Hidden Shoal delivers once again! There are instant gems in my collection from this Australian label, including albums by Sankt Otten, Wes Willenbring and now the latest from Slow Dancing Society. To listen to Priest Lake Circa ’88, I retreat into my solitary bedroom, fall over the covers, and press play on the player. It’s not that I am ready for a nap. But I do want to close my eyes and let the sound swirl around me, like little specs of dust rising towards the ceiling in the ray of sunlight. With my eyes closed I can truly hear. There are no distractions by the scrollies or the blinkies. With my eyes shut I can see the music. And it perfectly blends into an atmosphere of my surroundings. Somewhere a dog barks. A pigeon flutters. And my neighbor is working in his garden. The trees sway in the wind, softly brushing their leaves against my window. Or perhaps it is the sound of a washing waves on one of the tracks, accompanied by a subdued strumming of a guitar. Soon I see the water. Drifting away on my hastily made raft I am slowly approaching the center of the lake. Getting closer with every reverberated feedback, going farther into my saturated dream. Priest Lake Circa ’88 is Drew Sullivan’s third album on Hidden Shoal, serving as a conclusion to his double-album which began with The Slow and Steady Winter. The main theme of the album speaks of the nostalgic concept of “home”, encompassing the things we leave behind and return to, within our short journey into this time slice wer call “life”. With Brian Eno serving as the main influence for Sullivan’s work, I could attempt to classify the music as abstract ambient meeting experimental shoegaze. Or I could just name a few of my favorite artists that come to mind immediately upon my first listen: Stars of the Lid, Hammock, and Bitcrush. If those are the names on your watchlist, then you better rush out to secure a copy of the latest (and all) from Slow Dancing Society. And let me know about _your_ trip.

    Original at Headphone Commute

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