There’s always something magical when a musician gets the chance, the skills you may say, to blend lyrics, vocals and music together in one perfect harmony. The result transcends the norm of music physics in order to become something awesome. Sigur Ros, Arcade Fire and Tame Impala are among some of the (most recognized) bands to achieve this with a such a perfection. With his new album, Myths and Mold, the Minnesota’s native Chris Bartels proves he deserves (whether he intended or not) to be part of that exclusive group of “musical geniuses”.
By borrowing rather than copying note-to-note some of the bands mentioned above, the album sounds like an inception – a dream within a dream. “Blind” blends layers of drums, with different vocals and a few guitars. The later instrument plays a major role on the following track “Missoula”, a song that as the artist itself mentions “came out of nowhere”, there’s a minimalistic and experimental vibe into it. “Stay” keeps the heavy emphasis on room microphones intact but this one is more of a piano driven track and the dreamy vibe though still there isn’t as prominent as in the previous two songs yet it remains a very enjoyable tune. Both the title track and “Counting Hands” sort of follows the same structure as their predecessors. As a whole, this album is a fantastic journey into a creative a mind that knows how to take all this abstract elements and turn them into this concrete stories and melodies that arrest you right from the very beginning.
Perhaps the only negative thing I have to say would be mostly targeted into a particular group. For those who dreamy pop and abstract-related genres like Experimental or Post-Punk to name a few, this might be the perfect record for you. For those who doesn’t and rather hate this type of music then I would recommend seek somewhere else as this might bored you up almost to death. Also while Bartels tries to add new layers into the music and change things as the tempo and what not, sometimes the music felt a little too similar for me which at some point felt a bit lazy out to me.
Criteria - 85%
Overall, the good news is that records like Myths and Mold have their niche, out there's a group of people that would know how to appreciate the delicate melodies, the beautiful landscapes that the music evokes from time to time.