ARTIST: Strata Florida
RELEASE: Falling From Grace
RELEASE DATE: 25th November 2016
RECORD COMPANY: Cherry Red Songs
Wales based dream-gazers Strata Florida released their beautiful sophomore album to the masses back on the 25th November 2016. ‘Falling From Grace’ is the highly anticipated follow up to the brilliant ‘Made of Stars'(Saint Marie Records) and although it peels away much of the distortion that we had previously heard on the aforementioned album it takes absolutely nothing away from the songwriting prowess of both Louise Trehy & Peter Pavli. Louise returned to music after a 20 year hibernation having previously graced the underground music scene as a member of 4AD darlings ‘Swallow’. She joined forces with Peter Pavli (High Tide, Robert Calvert, Third Ear Band, Annette Peacock) to form Strata Florida and they continue to release immense sonic soundscapes. ‘Falling From Grace’ is available to buy/download right now from strataflorida.bandcamp.com
In a blissful array of stunning instrumentation the opening bars of ‘Caroline’ breathe shimmering frequencies out into the musical ether with delicious aplomb. Louise Trehy’s ethereal vocalisations float effortlessly on a wave of dreamy reverberation as the swirling guitar track and the repetitious sequenced percussion collectively instil a surreal kind of calmness to proceedings. Up next, ‘Vital Signs’ pulses into audible range on sequenced synth swells and tremulous guitar squall. Again, the haunting tones of Trehy are ever present as they swirl and meld into a cascading chorus break, deftly underscored by some fascinating layered guitar work, the bleeps & whirr’s of electronic atmospherics and sparse percussive hits. ‘Emily Bronte’ fizzes into earshot on an post-punk inspired bass line & luscious synth swells. The metronomic drum track takes up a kind of holding pattern, like a musical anchor, as all around it soars into the ether on wave after wave of beautifully golden sonic frequencies that are drenched in blissful reverb. A stunningly refreshing track indeed.
Up next, ‘Frozen’ is filled with boundless energy, allowing it’s woozy guitars to hold court and to gracefully shimmer as sparse sequenced percussive hits and throbbing bass frequencies act like bedrock to support those refreshing vocalisations. ‘Lost In Space’ trembles as it’s guitars jangle and shake on a steadying drum pattern that collectively builds with each progression until eventually breaking down into it’s cascading synth filled finale whilst the brilliant ‘Honey’ unfurls it’s sonic tendrils and transforms itself into a musical mash up between The Cure & Cocteau Twins. ‘Honey’ is a stunning track, deliciously filled with soaring instrumentation and blissfully translucent vocal lines.
The albums penultimate track is by far the heaviest on the entire release. Tremulous guitars and melodious bass lines sit atop a steadying drum pattern as Louise’s otherworldly vocalisations pulse from a different sonic plane than ours. Like a ghostly apparition the brilliant ‘Falling’ instils a surreal calmness as it works through it’s sonic repetitions and on into its grand finale. The albums closing piece is a brilliant slice of modern day post-punk. ‘Don’t Give Up On Me’ shudders on a driving bass line as swirling vocals and snaking lead guitar licks circumnavigate that repetitious percussive pattern. Underscored with electronic atmospherics and subtle synth swells ‘Don’t Give Up On Me’ is an absolute triumph and quite possibly my favourite track on this entire release.
There’s an air of invincibility surrounding Strata Florida’s music that is both enthralling and addictive all at once. Louise Trehy draws her listeners into every single track with her distinctive ethereal vocal style whilst instrumentally the band create well though out, layered soundscapes that act as a sonic conduit to deliver dreamy shoegaze & post-punk inspired sound.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Del Chaney has spent the last four years not only fronting popular experimental Irish based electronic duo Analogue Wave but also dedicating his time to uncovering the best artists in the unsigned or small independent label based shoegaze, ethereal dream pop, post punk, post rock & modern psych rock from all over the globe & reviewing them for this blog – The Primal Music Blog. He is also a contributing writer for The Sound Of Confusion. His other arm – Primal Radio – has gained considerable respect from bands and promoters alike since its conception in 2013 & has helped him in actively promoting a genre of music that he is passionate about. Hailing from Dublin, Ireland, he is a keen Vinyl Collector, Tattoo Fan & all round good guy! He is a self confessed music freak & is never far away from a studio console or a turntable.