A uniquely glamorous haunted beauty graces the edges of Azwel’s lovely “Halcyon”. Light psychedelic influences run through the clever retro futuristic work for their arrangements reveal a tremendously sophisticated approach. Beyond the psychedelic, they incorporate elements of pop, jazz, film soundtracks, and more into a seemingly swirling whole. Melodies have a tremendous richness to them for the arrangements have an almost weightlessness to them. The way all of the pieces neatly interact with each other results in a fully unified whole of an album, one that is best taken in one single sitting to fully appreciate the narrative that emerges over the course of the work. With surrealist lyricism the entirety of the work has a great winding quality about it.
Stylistically they draw from so many different groups. Nods to Stereolab appear throughout the whole of the album, for they too opt for a unique postmodern 60s French pop vibe. Beyond this, their denser tracks have a Broadcast-like hypnotic quality to them, constantly unfolding to reveal a wide variety of different layers. Instrumentally rich too they further magnify the many different possibilities of the sound, for they shift gears frequently in bedazzling ways. Vocals reflect an urbane quality reminiscent of Jon Brion’s assured presence. Akin to his output, they too are firmly rooted in a thoughtful pop template never veering too far astray from their incredible knack for hooks.
Quite spacious in scope “Our Achilles” has a gentle playfulness to it. Lyrics have an imaginative usage of imagery, complete with delightfully poppy choruses. An introspective nostalgic kick gives “In A Bind” a unique 70s singer-songwriter quality to it for it unfurls with wonderful flourishes. Timely and serving as one of the highlights of the album is “Pandemic” which might as well be a long-lost Todd Rundgren work. Kept simple the effectiveness is from the insistent rhythm keeping everything in place. Rushing through in a bright brilliant blur is “Game Your Game On”. Ornate baroque arrangements grow and grow on the blissful “Scourge Of The Seven Seas”. Ramshackle rhythms give “Wrong Place At The Wrong Time” a half-remembered dreamlike quality. On “Half Empty Half Full” they strip things to the essentials as the strings have a tenderness to them.
Guitar work lend “In The Blazing Sun” a pastoral quality. Fantastically eerie “The Henchmen” reigns supreme with a nice, decadent sound that wraps around with an expressive, lively arrangement. A ceremonial style underpins the procession of “Unanswered Questions”. Electronics emerge on the peppy dance flirtation of “Live For The Dead”. Elements of cinema comes through on the sweeping “only Time Will Tell” yet another highlight of the album. Neatly bringing the whole of the album to a fantastic conclusion is the reflective “The Morning After”.
“Halcyon” reveals Azwel to be true sculptors of their own sonic universe evoking a richness that draws the listener into a vast realm.