Chasms make dream pop with a difference | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

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Chasms make dream pop with a difference


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Chasms, the Los Angeles duo of Jess Labrador and Shannon Madden, is essentially a dream-pop outfit. But while the ethereal voice sighs and meanders breathily toward nirvana—in the tradition of artists such as the Cocteau Twins, Ivy, and Damon & Naomi—the atmospheric instrumentals draw from more disparate influences, notably electronic dance music. Their new record, The Mirage (Felte), opens with “Shadow,” which starts with a sparse, distorted beat that could pass as a dub track—at least until processed guitar noises and Madden’s singing slide in and lift things off that thumping bottom. “Deep Love Deep Pain” feels like pop music for sad robots, as Chasms build melancholy lyrics and melody around a slowed-down techno beat. On “The Mirage,” they employ a heavy industrial beat and a pace so slow it could appeal to doom-metal fans, exploring the considerable crossover between slowcore and shoegaze. And on the instrumental “No Savior,” a repetitive chiming guitar contrasts with grimy, ominously echoing beats that sound fit for a black-metal project. The Mirage encourages you to zone out—to let your eyes cross and your brain wander—only to zone back in to pick up on distinctive, unexpected details. Chasms may play dream pop, but they can pack an unusual amount of stuff into a dream.   v

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