"Memory Work" is the new album by San Francisco based four-piece VANIISH - formerly known as Veil Veil Vanish. Through it, the project reveals itself more profound and eerie than its previous incarnation, achieving to dissolve the borders between reality and fiction through music and, thereby, providing a perfect embodiment for the surreal lyrics. Keven Tecon (vocals, guitars) - ex Wax Idols, The Soft Moon, Veil Veil Vanish - along with fellow Wax Idols and Veil Veil Vanish member Amy Rosenoff (bass), Adam Beck (guitars/keyboards) and Nick Ott (drums) have effectively pushed Post-Punk into suitably hazy, wide-screen realms of gloom where the swooning allure from 80's 4AD is dredged up with an icy, cutting edge twist - all accentuated by the esteemed producer Monte Vallier (The Soft Moon, Wax Idols). Tracks like "Memory Work", "Loss of Sensation" and "Observatory Time" demonstrate a deep knowledge of dark ambiances, sonic textures, grim moods and ethereal languor. The dynamics manage to activate an hypnotic state in the listener's brain, clearing the way for an other-worldly assault of synthetic vapours, fleeting guitar tunes and bashfully croons that kindle washed-out memories of padded cells and floaty vastness simultaneously. Driven by sweeping synths and freezing fuzzed-up chords, "Sucession" follows the same path although sounding more dreamy and sidereal. Though the song's beautiful melody leaks through thin threads, its hook will stay in your mind long after finishing. For its part, "Cold Fascination" displays an anthemic Post-Punk driving, with rumbling bass and marching percussion slashing through a wintry, thick fog of noise guitar and keyboard dissonances. In contrast, "Search and Replace" comes in with an abrasive, unrelenting pace that arrives like a punch in the face, coupled with chugging riff discharges. Vocals soar over with heartbreak while Eastern-flavored melodies and mechanical screeches provide a bleak, retro-futuristic counterpoint when the track slows down. The sleek and shiny "Kaleidoscoped" represents a welcome change from the more oppresive approach taken in this album overall. Ringing guitar melodies, addictive choruses and whirling keyboards create a happiness mirage but there's a high dose of irony in that "I'm alive" which is repeated with detachment throughout the lyrics. The windswept "La foi au fil de l'eau", sung entirely in French, puts the suspension points to the album evoking the 4AD aesthetics. Piling on atmospheric layers of effects-blasted guitar, expansive synth swirls and swooping, honeyed voices, the band has built a cathedral of sound that glistens like water in a desert. Inspirational and thrilling, it's the perfect closer bracket for this soundtrackish, pleasently weird rapture.
Review by Billyphobia