Douglas Heart

Douglas Heart

  • AllMusic Rating
    7
  • User Ratings (0)
  • Your Rating

AllMusic Review by

As luscious and lazy as a late summer night, Douglas Heart's debut is perfectly tailored for a spot in the after-hours listening canon somewhere roughly in between the Cowboy Junkies' Trinity Session and Sigur Ròs' Ágaetis Byrjun -- if it's not quite as transcendent or groundbreaking as those sui generis classics, it's notably warmer and more glowing than either. The folk psychedelia of Mazzy Star and Beach House and the hazy space rock of Auburn Lull are perhaps even closer stylistic reference points, but there's a confidence and subtle positivity that sets Douglas Heart apart. Wafting in on a cloud of white noise and backwards guitar and vocal snippets before settling into a mild country-pop lope, opener "Smoke Screen" is actually the album's most kinetic moment, with some especially enjoyable bouncing bass work, but it aptly sets the tone for the album by introducing its two most defining sonic features; Malin Dahlberg's arrestingly pure but strangely twangy voice and the rich, clarion sound of Ramo Spatalovic's Hammond organ. Save for the tender, tremulous guitar instrumental "Bear Olsson" and the lo-fi, piano-led "When We Become Strangers," these two elements carry throughout much of the record, sometimes taking center stage (as on the lovely "Dream" and "Jim") but more often melding smoothly and organically with the layers of guitar, restrained rhythm section playing, and occasional washes of pedal steel. Just as this is definitely a full-band album, where even the more audibly prominent players are essentially serving to flesh out the full but simple sound of the entire group, it's also an album that functions very much as a whole piece, despite several individually memorable moments (notably the first three cuts.)

blue highlight denotes track pick