Wellington’s Glass Vaults built up a sound up over a half-decade, singles, EPs, wonderful live performances and now the full-lengther, Sojourn. There’s something very 4AD about this band’s sound, the swirling synths that lap at the side of and then even bounce up over the vocals; waves of a sound that coax and guide one minute but are quite prepared to bury other elements – the vocals so often a blur, burred texture within and around the sound.
But it’s not just aimless drifting. There are pop songs here. Or pop-song ideals at least. Strong, coursing melodies and West Coast feels like something Luna might have gone on to allow themselves to make one day.
Elsewhere, as on the calm waft of the title track, it’s Sigur Ros translated back from the “Hopelandic” just as it’s This Mortal Coil given a euphoric, albeit clipped rhythm-as-melody/melody-as-rhythm.
It’s a world – or several worlds in fact – of smart, measured experimentation. The drums that lift Sacred Heart, the indie guitar pulse that guides Ancient Gates, the Laurie Anderson-meets-Album Leaf vocal/keys machinations of Your Blood, the soft-shoe creeping intensity of closer Don’t Be Shy II.
The very best examples of Record Collection Pop build something else – something new, something other. And that’s what we have here. You can trace back (some of) the elements, but they’ve build a new world within old (and found) sounds. Sojourn is magnificent.