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Babehoven - Sunk EP Music Album Reviews

Babehoven - Sunk EP Music Album Reviews
A new EP of soft, slowcore music from Maya Bon and Ryan Albert arrives like a postscript, elaborating on past themes of grief and accountability with a darker scrawl.

California expat Maya Bon and collaborator Ryan Albert of Babehoven put on Elliott Smith’s Either/Or and sprawled out on the floor of their apartment in the mountains of Vermont. After the dreamy maximalism of last year’s EP Nastavi, Calliope—a catalog of requiems equal parts clever and anguished—they hoped to embellish their new project with Smith’s deckle-edged sound. Armed with little more than a MIDI keyboard, together they trouble Bon’s old conclusions, questioning whether loss or forgiveness are ever really final.

Sunk, their first release with Double Double Whammy, is a summer hailstorm of contradictions. It arrives like a postscript, elaborating on past themes of grief and accountability with a darker scrawl. Brooding slowcore percussion texturizes Bon’s creaky riffs and sometimes-haunting-sometimes-angelic vocals—“I don’t know how to love anymore,” Bon whispers. While the band upholds their indie charm, Bon shows off the range of her voice—borrowing from both shoegaze and country antecedents—tracing a lineage from Grouper’s Liz Harris back to Mazzy Star’s Hope Sandoval. She distinguishes herself by resisting tidy melodic turns and pop hooks, offering instead a sonic kaleidoscope made even more beautiful by its complexity.

The poet Adrienne Rich famously claimed to use formalism like asbestos gloves—it allowed her to handle material she couldn’t pick up barehanded. For Bon, this is humor. Heartbreak, an absent father, the death of her pets, and now climate anxiety, land mismanagement, misogyny: she plumbs the existential depths with a comedic spade. On the lethargic lead single, “Fugazi,” she laments that a guy thought he’d been the one to introduce her to the D.C. punk band. Of course, Maya Bon knows Fugazi. Like Ian MacKaye, she plays her wit the way she plays her hurt: with a straight face. Her voice leaden with fatigue, she continues, “It doesn’t make sense why it hurt me.” But the irony only punctuates the pain; it makes perfect sense, and her guitar is showing you why.

In Bon’s world, vulnerability thrums against intellect, the quotidian against the grandiose. On the stirring, folk-operatic seven-minute closing track, “Twenty Dried Chilies,” she describes watching TV on the couch in the same few breaths as a staggering declaration about the cruelty of aging and the fragility of human connection. “I regret sending you that email where I said I wanted to kill you,” she sings, her tone theatrical against a scrim of harp-like strings and keys, like an epic poet enchanting a story with the lyre. Like much of her writing, the line succeeds because it is as much a joke as it is not a joke. Her syllables flutter and tumble over rows of hypnotic fingerpicking, in stark contrast to the stand-out “Creature” which precedes it, whose power resides in its spareness and in whose open strumming and nihilism, Elliott Smith’s influence is clear.

At Brooklyn’s Union Pool in early February, Bon and Albert concluded their set with a kiss onstage. Despite her fears and forfeitures, something like hope emerges between the songs’ softer moments and their buoyant orchestral swells. She does know how to love, we just have to listen for the wink.

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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Babehoven - Sunk EP Music Album Reviews Babehoven - Sunk EP Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on Wednesday, March 16, 2022 Rating: 5

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