Melodies emerge from a dream-like state on the lovely soothing sounds of Smaiblue’s deeply romantic “That’s Enough Love Songs – See You Soon”. Patience is a virtue and he practices it well. Nothing here is rushed the sounds exist in a vast cavernous state. Akin to hymns, these blissful moments are dilated out into the seemingly infinite. Drone, slowcore, and dream pop blend together in a beautiful way. Elegantly minimal he knows exactly what to do and how to lend the stripped-down raw approach a tremendous intimacy. His vocals convey a sense of life for they are delivered with so much earnestness. Every verse is carefully selected, weighted, and balanced for maximum impact.
Stylistically he is firmly rooted in the slowcore aesthetic, with hardly any of these songs possessing much in the way of percussion, and when rhythm is used, it is used extremely sparingly. His approach is undeniably similar to the meditative spirit of Low, with his vocals dead ringers for Alan Sparhawk’s western softness and the kindness of Mimi Parker’s delicate delivery. Usage of drone throughout has a classical cadence to it, for they incorporate lessons learned from latter-period Stars of the Lid, right down to the glowing yet hopeful melodies imbued deep within the textures of the pieces.
“Navigate (feat. Syauu)” sets the tone for what follows. Painterly piano perfectly accompanies sparse yet affecting vocals. Impressionistic hues intermingle on the spacious scope of “How It Feels When It’s Just Us Being Close”. The bare bones of “Last Love” has an almost bluesy quality with every gesture magnified through emotion. Little pings akin to sonar echoes through the vast spaces of “Caught in September”. With “Crimson Staircase” he suspends sound above himself in a unique form of scaffolding. Growing with a careful, considered buildup is the intensity of “Two Different Worlds” where miniature symphonies rise above from the droning swells.
Muffled beats reminiscent of Andy Stott’s work appear for a brief moment on the graceful “Waltzing in a Factory”. Organ tones weave themselves together into a vast tapestry of sound on the ancient origins of “Our Hidden Warmth”. Tiny, almost toy box melodies, waft on through such vast geographies with the yearning of “At Her Favourite Spot”. With “The Way You Drift” features nimble guitar work incorporating elements of John Fahey’s American Primitive movement. A small burst of energy pops with the poetic “Glove”. Effortlessly bringing the whole of the album to a careful conclusion is the narrated finale of “I Miss You”.
Smaiblue delivers a sonic balm on the reassuringly warm and gentle lullabies of “That’s Enough Love Songs – See You Soon”.