(05.2008, Orange Twin)
Verdict = Gilded, sorrowful chamber pop
On Orange Twin and amongst several players from various bands of the Elephant 6 Collective, The Instruments doesn’t quite follow the same psych pop eccentricities that you might expect of its players. In fact, Dark Smaland is seductively dark and lusciously arranged, veering heavily toward chamber orchestrations rather than sixties rock. Lead by Heather McIntosh and her delicate vocals, The Instruments drift through repetitious incantations and melancholy instrumentation to great success. The intimacy here sinks surprisingly deep in the amiable warmth of Dark Smaland despite it’s under riding depressive nature. The tracks vary between McIntosh’s repetitious lyrics and purely instrumental offerings fluidly passing from one to the next in a most dignified manner. Dark Smaland moves fairly slowly even though track lengths generally find themselves in the three to four minute range. This is a testament to each tracks ability to suck you in and not let go. I was recently talking with Sassigrass in a constantly reoccurring conversation about how I can’t help but design a movie scene with which to apply the music that I am listening to (I have always wanted to soundtrack a movie). Dark Smaland would fit perfectly in a transitional, dialogue-less scene viewing characters alone in the warmth of their respective living rooms during an afternoon rainstorm. I don’t quite know what that scene illustrates of me, but for The Instruments it means downhearted familiarity and longing beauty that is vibrantly addictive.
The Instruments - "Ode to the Sea"