Melodyguild – Aitu EP

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Melodyguild - Aitu EP

Suzanne Perry, best known for her enchanting, ethereal vocals on many a Love Spirals Downwards song, is back after almost a decade with a new band called Melodyguild, which also features Matt Gleason on guitars, Nicholas Pallos on drums, and John West on bass.  The band has a 4-song EP out titled Aitu on Projekt Records, which was also the home of Love Spirals Downwards. 

While Suzanne’s vocals remain as sweetly melancholic and mesmerizing as ever, the band’s dream-pop atmospherics are more guitar-based than LSD and do not employ electronics and layered loops of sounds.  The songs on this EP take their time, building slowly towards transporting moments, but the melodies tend to meander and aren’t immediately distinguishable like those found in a typical 3-minute pop song.  The lengthy, mellow plateaus in the sound are low-key and pleasant, but it’s the sonic peaks, when the guitars break out in swirls and shimmers, and when Suzanne emotes forlornly, that make this EP worthwhile.

 Opener “Paramint” starts off slowly with a steady drum beat, cymbal tap, little rills of reverberating guitar, and a blue-note guitar until, after the 3-minute mark, the guitars smoothly lift off, just grazing the clouds, not getting too high, backed by dynamic drum-work and cymbals.  The lofty atmospherics then drift back to earth with the reappearance of a sedate guitar line and Suzanne’s drawn out vocals that are reminiscent of Rachel Goswell of Slowdive in their mournful, jewel-tone sound. 

The next song “Accomplice” treads a different stylistic path than that of dream-pop, engaging the verse, chorus, verse pop-song structure to Suzanne’s plainer, but melodic, short-phrase vocals which are accompanied by straight-forward guitar strum and drum beat, with a chiming layer of guitar floating on top of the mix, recalling the songs of later-era The Cowboy Junkies.  Suzanne sounds like a cross between Margo Timmins of The Cowboy Junkies and Natalie Merchant, especially in her sweet intonation at the ends of phrases in the chorus sections.

 There is an odd contrast between a steady, but up-beat tempo of drums and cymbal tap and Suzanne’s elongated, introspective phrases on “Flicker”.   On the chorus the guitars shift to a higher plane, slowly running rings but not ascending to glory until after 4 minutes, when a distorted guitar burn kicks in, but then fades away too quickly against a drum beat that lacks propulsion.

 Melodyguild save the best for last on “Un Parallel”, an epic song at almost 8 minutes long, but with a memorable melody that slowly unfurls against a spacey sound and contemplative, chiming guitar notes.  Suzanne’s vocals are sweetly introspective and filled with longing and regret as she sings “You always said we were in parallel / too far apart, like two seas / that stretch for miles and miles / never to meet, never to meet…”  The intensity of the guitars rises, backs down, and then finally breaks out mid-way through the song with a burnished, looming, scraping ascendancy that rivals the elegant grandeur of certain Slowdive songs.