12 O'Clock Track: Volcanic dream pop from A Sunny Day in Glasgow | Bleader

12 O'Clock Track: Volcanic dream pop from A Sunny Day in Glasgow

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The cover of Sea When Absent
  • The cover of Sea When Absent
I've been a fan of Philadelphia dream-pop outfit A Sunny Day in Glasgow since their 2007 debut Scribble Mural Comic Journal (Notenuf). That album seemed to refract early My Bloody Valentine and Sarah Records singles through Animal Collective's screwy, childlike sense of songwriting and Wolfgang Voigt's lush, cavernous ambient music. On their 2009 follow-up Ashes Grammar (Mis Ojos Discos), they still enshrouded their music in Voigt's fog-thick textures but turned up the BPM and channeled early-90s indie-dance-pop acts like Saint Etienne and the KLF. I have yet to hear their latest, Sea When Absent, but first single "Bye Bye Big Ocean (The End)" is promising. Sticking to their penchant for wordy, abstract, misleading song titles, "Bye Bye Big Ocean" is actually the album's opening track, and it seems to find the band returning to the choppy, patchwork songwriting of their debut. But instead of a hazy, sensual surface, the band opts for the overwhelming digital noise of something like Ben Frost's Aurora. I realize how far-fetched a comparison is between A Sunny Day in Glasgow and Ben Frost—the latter's music is far more challenging and confrontational—but ASDIG's song has a similar effect on my ears and my brain. Sea When Absent is out June 24 on Lefse, and I'm looking forward to hearing what else is on it.

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