Beneather by BeneatherRelease date: May 6, 2022
Label: Where Its At Is Where You Are
Submerged and dreamy drone-pop smears for your spring come summer moments of brain drift. Beneather is sad and pretty and barely there at all, floating on the breeze, curling like smoke. A solo outing for The Leaf Library’s Lewis Young, as Beneather he mixes soft tape loops and delicate guitar flickers into slowly fading after-images of songs. As hints to what’s happening one is called ‘Dreamgaze’ another ‘Melts Into Air’. They seem to be humming in the distance, like ghosts of songs you once knew bleeding through from the past. This effect is amplified by fellow Leaf Librarian Melinda Bronstein’s hushed and wordless vocals, sighing and looping. You might think something so partial would be frustrating but in fact it’s really very calming.
Something I like about The Leaf Library is, if you just read their website you might get the idea they were a bit earnest, an overly cerebral collective, but you never get that from their music. Here too, the intellectual justifications for wading out this far are left on the shore, dissolved by lapping waves. The music simply floats, swaying on sedated beats, subtle melodies stopping it from washing away entirely. A perfect marriage of thought and expression they’re too slippery to recall but warmly familiar when you hear them again. Fragile strings of small musical moments.
On ‘Colour Me The Same’ the rhythm tics like a clock in a large deserted hall and Bronstein seems to sing “halloween up there”. It’s the one time I’m able to pick out actual words, although I’ve not really tried and I may well be mistaken. It’s not really the point, her lovely voice echoes among the loops and liquid guitar notes, a human sound. All the tunes are of a piece and yet different enough to separate themselves. ‘Tome’s scratchy backwards pulse carries sparkling guitar but no vocals. ‘Unloved Club’ has a faint How To Dress Well vibe, tasteful guitar and drowsy beats. ‘Land & Sea’ has a trace of Eno’s ‘Deep Blue Day’, ‘Halcyon Tide’ is like the muzak in the heavenly supermarket, drifting down the aisles, free of desire.
It’s remarkably relaxed and soothing. Mostly it fitfully dozes, staring up at the sunlight through the leaves, stray thoughts rolling around, sense memories and fleeting impressions. A soundtrack for wool gathering. There are no ringing memory triggers, no brightly evocative fragments, no sharp scent of smoke or polish, no singular dance of light that transports you back, just the haze. Pop as a glowing narcotic cloud. Dreamgaze indeed.