Single Reviews: 4 June 2024: Silent Mass, Duel Ferns, Model Living, Julia Logan, Em Pompa


Photo by Laura Alessia

Silent Mass - The Great Chaos


Spearheaded by the lush vocals of Ammo Bankoff, New York-based Silent Mass seems driven to take the listener to the astral plan with the titular single to their forthcoming album, The Great Choas. In an intoxicating stew of eldritch keys, hazy guitars, and numinous vocals we find arcane songwriting constituted by its pleas to the ethereal. If that sounds like a vague description, I may have given you an example of Silent Mass' music and the thought it might inspire. The occult overtones in their work doesn't seem unintentional. The upcoming album will be released on June 20th in honour of the Summer Solstice. Yet it's not purely spiritual, with some corpeal push found in its rather sultry movements. This is one album to mark on the calendar, especially if you are looking for a soundtrack to your skycladding rituals. 

Duel Ferns - Softer Silence


Brooklynites Duel Ferns aren't afraid of getting creepy on their debut single "Softer Silence". Sounding like it's coming from some bewitched basement circa 1996, the group deftly create epic rock with a flair of lo-fi defeatism. Comprising vocalist Charity Souza, drummer TJ Perrin, bassist Nicholas Comaratta, guitarist Atedhe “Rex” Rexha, and violinist/electronic wizard Evan Dice, the group operates around quiet/loud dynamics, obscure vocals-cum-performance art, squealing feedback and sweeping orchestral strings to make a compellingly audacoius opening statement.

Model Living - Smarthouse


Chicagoans Model Living comprises vocalist Geoff Alger-Daniels, drummer Nico Ciani, bassist Matt Ciani, & guitarist Jay Martinez. Following on from last year's debut EP, Alignment, the group's recently released EP Agreement, deals in acidic observations of the quotidian and rough-and-ready rock immediacy. One such track is "Smarthouse", which sees undulating distorted guitars, breakneck drumming, and hard-to-make-out shouty vocals collide in fashion. Yes, Model Living are angry, but it's a twisted kind of anger, the kind that is undirected and so ends up at obscure tangents. Perhaps their name gives it away, and the four-piece is lamenting the woes of modern life (it is rubbish, after all). This pressure-cooker intensity has no chore hooking the listener into its digressions, spurring them into their own directionless and awesome ennui. 


Julia Logan - Mirrors

indie rock 

Sweden's Julia Logan achieves a great sound on her recent single "Mirrors", taken from the upcoming second album, Faraway Nearby. The great sound of the single is not thanks soley to the production, though producer and co-writer Daniel Bengtson (who has worked with fellow Swedish songsmiths First-Aid Kit) does a bang-up job, it's more the quality of Logan's voice, which lies somewhere between raspy and angelic that really draws you in. It also doesn't hurt that "Mirrors" features snappy melodies, imagistic lyrics, and polished songwriting.  

Em Pompa - Sundog Woman


Montreal's Em Popma, formerly of Bellflower breaks out on her own terms with "Sundog Woman", the captivating first single from the recently released album Now What. Perhaps it's happenstance that the cover of Now What features (presumably) the artist's face, though obscured by effects. It's quite similar to those of Peter Gabriel's first few solo albums, and these artists have much in common, they both experiment with beats, dark textures, and soul-pop vocal melodies. On "Sundog Woman", Em Pompa ruminates on the past with a wistful panache, underpinned by a unique singing style and a strong environment-building proclivity. Indeed, the music here is environmental, with computerised elements delicately balanced around the performative and emotive vocals delivered with gusto.