Downy Mildew

Downy Mildew

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Unfortunately brief but deeply satisfying, this five-track EP is the purest and perhaps the best expression of Downy Mildew's unique musical aesthetic. In a lot of ways, Downy Mildew was California's answer to the Cocteau Twins. Of course, they don't really sound anything like that inimitable trio, but there's a similar mystery to these songs. The lyrics are almost equally impenetrable, and Jenny Homer's dark-hued alto is as mysterious and alluring as Elizabeth Fraser's flighty warble. More importantly, the band's interplay, mixing jangle-poppy acoustics with psychedelic electric guitar washes and dreamy violin parts, is as tactile and satisfying as that of any neo-Byrds bands of the post-Murmur '80s. The extraordinary "Experience in the Far Southwest" is the highlight, as enchanting a slice of jangly, ghostly psych-pop as anything the entire Paisley Underground served up, but the remaining tunes are nearly as strong. Unfortunately, all of Downy Mildew's albums after this stellar debut were slightly less special.