Album reviews: Chip Wickham, Beach House, Eternal Summers, Yung Wu, The Sea and Cake and Deeper

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Deeper offers more than fodder for ruminations on the hyperreal, and that’s angular, brisk-but-not-breakneck post-punk with intertwining trebly guitars and a blessedly direct vocalist in Nic Gohl. Publicity photo. Deeper offers more than fodder for ruminations on the hyperreal, and that’s angular, brisk-but-not-breakneck post-punk with intertwining trebly guitars and a blessedly direct vocalist in Nic Gohl. Publicity photo.

Chip Wickham

Shamal Wind (Lovemonk)

Wickham, a flute-and-reeds player who has worked with artists from Badly Drawn Boy to Roy Ayers, relocated from Manchester to Qatar and emerged as a bandleader on 2017’s La Sombra—a fruitful hybrid of ’60s modal jazz and funk with Latin shadings. This follow-up is more of the same, and buoyed by vibraphonist Ton Risco, keyboardist Phil Wilkinson and drummer Antonio Alvarez Pax, Shamal Wind throbs and shimmers, fresh and timeless.

https://chipwickham.bandcamp.com/

Beach House

7 (Sub Pop)

Caveat: Beach House’s 2006 debut blew my mind, which has proven a double-edged sword as the duo has continued to release albums that astute friends love but that leave me feeling like I’m chasing the dragon. For 7, Beach House returns to a dreamy mode, but it’s not the private reverie of yore; the wistfulness here is epic, almost overbearing. Victoria Legrand’s voice is borne to us on swelling storm clouds, even on relatively relaxed nuggets “Pay No Mind” and “Lose Your Smile.” And it’s anyone’s guess what’s up with the incessant warbly mechanical chirp on “Lemon Glow.”

Eternal Summers

Every Day It Feels Like I’m Dying (Nevado)

Over the last decade, Roanoke trio Eternal Summers has put together one of the most tuneful catalogs in all indie, but the self-produced, deceptively titled Every Day It Feels Like I’m Dying sounds like a new milestone, chock-full of perfect-world radio hits with nary a maudlin moment. Soaring opener “Motionless” sets a dauntingly high bar, but the hooks don’t flag on an album full of sunny, dreamy goodness with an occasional hint of tropicalia. Eternal Summers play Harrisonburg’s Golden Pony on June 4 and Richmond’s Broadberry on June 6.

https://eternalsummers.bandcamp.com/album/every-day-it-feels-like-im-dying

Yung Wu

Shore Leave (Bar/None)

Fans of the Feelies’ knotty landmark Crazy Rhythms and pastoral masterpiece The Good Earth need to take note, because Shore Leave, released in 1987 by Yung Wu—essentially the Feelies fronted by drummer Dave Weckerman—sounds like those two records hanging out on vacation. Weckerman’s voice is unassuming to say the least, but his simple songs perfectly receive the classic Hoboken tropes of tight jangle, keening leads and punchy bass. No bonus tracks on this reissue, alas, but Shore Leave stands next to the Feelies’ best work, hands humbly folded.

The Sea and Cake

Any Day (Thrill Jockey)

For more than 20 years, Chicago’s The Sea and Cake has been cooking up a sophisticated brew of breezy rock cut with krautrock and bossa nova—sounds weird, but the structure’s made airtight, notably by propulsive yet subtle drum wizard John McEntire. Any Day is the band’s first album in six years and the first as a trio; sounds like classic Sea and Cake though, thanks to the mainstay elements of tapestry-weaving guitarist Archer Prewitt and breathy, elegant vocalist Sam Prekop. Any Day hums and billows at various speeds, all of a refined piece.

https://theseaandcake.bandcamp.com/album/any-day

Deeper

Deeper (Fire Talk)

In the press photo, the model-looking drummer of this young Chicago quartet sports super long braided pigtails, a porn star mustache and dadcore fashion, exemplifying the annoying hipster affect that offers a cliché and its parody all at once. Happy to say, Deeper offers more than fodder for ruminations on the hyperreal, and that’s angular, brisk-but-not-breakneck post-punk with intertwining trebly guitars and a blessedly direct vocalist in Nic Gohl. It’s darn good. Deeper plays Richmond’s Flora (the old Balliceaux space) with Basmati and Ashes on May 29.

https://deeperchi.bandcamp.com/album/deeper

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