The good thing about the very vague musical genre that is dreampop is the fact that you actually don’t feel the need to classify it more in detail once you fell for it. There might not even be a specific definition on when dreampop ends and shoegaze starts and which part other musical subgenres like wave or lo-fi play in this equation. And within this stressful classification lies one of music’s greatest strengths. Especially when you give a damn about a specification of whatever you’re falling for. Although guitarist Daniel Hindman and keyboardist Sarah Versprille might have had their own definition in mind, the full length debut of their duo PURE BATHING CULTURE is more the type of record you enjoy instead of talking about it. Well, we’re trying the second aspect at least a little right here.
NOTHING BUT HOPE AND PASSION followed the Portland-based duo for a while now. We enjoyed last year’s self-titled debut EP quite a lot and had its track Ivory Coast on our Nothing But … Indie-Pop sampler last autumn. A lot has changed since that time. Not only for us but also for PURE BATHING CULTURE. Produced with the help of Richard Swift at his National Freedom studio in Orgeon Moon Tides marks a logical continuation of the previous sound by these two people. Like the past output the music of PURE BATHING CULTURE unfolds his hazy and reverb-filled psychedelic atmosphere with an undeniable love for a good melody and solid songwriting. The instrumentation is quite gently, sneaking softly under your skin like a warm summer breeze. The opener Pendulum recalls a certain FLEETWOOD MAC-like vibe with reminiscences of THE SMITHS. It’s Sarah’s dreamy voice who carries dreamy pieces like Ever Greener or the romantic Scotty through the ever floating tropical soundscape of the record.
It’s this compressed dreamy vibe that feels quite heavy like BEACH HOUSE in moments like Twins when folky steel guitars team up with soft synthetic pads. That’s the way PURE BATHING CULTURE are heading with Moon Tides. The nine songs on the debut manage to create a fairly coherent atmosphere. The repetitive sounds of Versprille and Hindman can be found in pretty much every track. This might mark the only weakness of this quite solid debut album. There’s a little lack of diversification within the record. Something that stands out, something that might hint in an alternate direction. But it might not be the task of Moon Tides to deal with this yet. The record marks a solid start for a band with a lot of potential. Let’s keep it that way – let’s shut our eyes, forget about the talking and writing and just enjoy this right here.