Album Review of Dead Blue by Still Corners.
Release Date: Sep 16, 2016
Record label: N/A
On their second album, Strange Pleasures, Still Corners were savvy enough to jump on the seemingly unstoppable synth-pop-meets-shoegaze trend of the 2010s. They refine and expand on this sound with Dead Blue, an album title that comes from Tessa Murray and Greg Hughes' move from London to the seaside town of Deal in Kent. Despite its beachy origins, Dead Blue is far from summery or peaceful.
Still Corners are back from exile. Their third album, ‘Dead Blue’, was written in isolation on the coast of Kent, after the band were pushed out of London by overpriced accommodation and metropolitan hassles. From the bay window of their rented home band members Tessa Murray and Greg Hughes looked out over the cold, deep waters of the English channel as they worked on their follow up to 2013’s ‘Strange Pleasures’.
British/American dream-pop act Still Corners should take a page out of S U R V I V E's book (as with Netflix's Stranger Things) and do the musical score for a dark '80s-indebted series. Their new album, Dead Blue, perfectly nails the aesthetic: a synthetic, manufactured sheen covering up a dark, beating heart at its core. It serves as a great soundtrack to a midnight drive on a moonless night.
Tessa Edwards of Still Corners had been reading a biography of the Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson while developing their latest album Dead Blue. It feels apropos, given the kinship between Brian’s artistic ideologies and the dream pop genre - be it the depictions of idylls, the impressionism, the desire to distort the codes of pop music, or the all around pleasantness of the final product. Dead Blue was written while renting a seaside house in Deal, Kent, where the band stared into the depths of the English Channel as they rehearsed – in some sort of undeliberate gesture of Beach Boys ideal.
When Still Corners first emerged with their excellent debut on Sub Pop, 2011’s Creatures of An Hour, the duo appeared in a 1960’s influenced haze; oblique, psychedelic and darkly intimate, a London re-imagination of Beach House, a modern day Broadcast, a musical interpretation of film noir. The follow up, 2013’s Strange Pleasures, had them replace the monochrome murk with glorious technicolour, Tessa Murray’s vocals remaining a non-committal sigh but given the space to breathe alongside the music of Greg Hughes, be it the heartbreak disco beats, the stolen Johnny Marr riffs, the cinematic soundscapes, it was an album which was enthralled with pop music, but the kind that makes you cry. So with such a notable shift in sound, a change of label (this release comes via their own Wrecking Light imprint) and a new base, swapping the claustrophobia of Greenwich for the sea side of Deal in Kent, further reinvention wouldn’t be a surprise, but instead they’ve consolidated on the progression made between their first two albums and in turn produced their finest effort to date.