Landing

Seasons

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Landing's string of captivating psychedelic-into-shoegaze releases continues apace with the lovely Seasons. Having now created more of a trademark sound for themselves -- balancing post-Slowdive blissout with a deft, light touch that results in any number of rich but never overpowering songs -- the quartet really comes into their own on the eight-song release (not counting the occasional brief instrumental break). Aaron Snow's singing shows welcome variety here; while always understated, more than once he's mixed upfront instead of being constantly in the haze, which can provide a gentle tension on songs like "Encircled." Adrienne Snow remains no slouch either; her lead turn on "First Snow" -- a wonderfully evocative title alone that the music easily matches -- is a slow-motion siren call sliding sweetly among the digital delay effects. The opening "Fall Song" readily demonstrates how well it can come together; not two and a half minutes long, it's a masterpiece in miniature, the lead guitar figure backed by a rich full-band arrangement that allows plenty of space amid the blur. The short codas at points make for fine additions to the flow of the record; the swirling, spaced keyboards on "(Through Fallen Leaves)" and the gentle space out of "(Into the Woods)" need no further justification for their presence than that. The combination of "Ruins in the Morning" and "(So Cold)" is arguably the album highlight, the lush guitar overdubs and soothing Aaron Snow vocal giving way to, amusingly enough, as perfect a Low tribute song ever recorded. Certainly one can easily imagine Alan Sparhawk on vocals and Mimi Parker on the steady drumming. Ending with the almost anthemic (in its own way) "Blue Sky Away," just upbeat and straightforward enough without sounding like a radical difference from the rest of the album and fading out on a final keyboard flourish, Seasons is one fine listen.

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