Wednesday 7 June 2017

Review: Sidewalks And Skeletons – 'The Void'

'The Void'

2015's 'White Light' from Sidewalks And Skeletons, AKA Jake Lee, was arguably one of the highlights of the year with it's esoteric pallet of ethereal, hypnotic electronics and dark hip-hop/trap beats. 2017 sees 'The Void' pick-up the next part of the sonic journey begun on 'White Light'. This time there is a lighter, calmer and more spiritual feel to the proceedings. The beats have been dialled back. The synths are lighter and more ambient. And the whole package feels like a suitable evolution in the S&S sound.

Songs such as 'VHS Death', 'Black Flowers', 'Entity', '1996', 'Forgive', 'Morgue', and 'Fading Light' are just as hypnotic as anything S&S has produced before, but there is an euphoric and emotional softness to them, a sense of tranquillity, and yet they are recognisably part of the witch house influenced S&S sonic landscape. Whereas tracks such as 'The Void', 'Morphine', 'Drowning', 'Feel Nothing', 'Slip Away', and 'Glow' fit right in with the experimental yet accessible flavours of previous releases, incorporating samples and grooving beats to great effect.

In terms of production the album is stunning. There is no doubt that Lee is a phenomenal producer. The album is crisp and modern, the experimental sections come through clear and the whole album maintains a light open sense of space throughout. Again it shows just how quickly Lee continues to progress and up his game with every single release.

While the album may have lost that dark and heavy presence of its predecessor, and those really cool flirtations with metal, it is still a stunning release. Lee hasn't gone in a predictable direction and so the more ethereal and ambient nature of the album feels like a curve-ball, but a welcome one nonetheless. 'The Void' is a truly beautiful album that shows excessive skills and talent behind it, and more importantly ambition. An ambition to keep reaching higher with every release, and this certainly achieves that.  

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