she's / dry spells Cherry Red / Heliotrope (blue vinyl 7", £7.25)label: Empty Cellar
Introducing a new split 45 via Empty Cellar Records featuring harmony- heavy San Francisco legacies The She’s and The Dry Spells. Tight vocal harmonies, ambitious musical arrangements, and diverse influences meet on both sides of this record in a pairing that doesn’t disappoint. A song for the party and one for the comedown. The She’s light things up with their ever-expanding range: the group that got its start in middle school brings their steadily amassed stylistic and dynamic breadth to “Cherry Red,” produced by Patrick Brown at Different Fur. It bursts open with with a driving surf beat cut with laser-guided vocal counterpoint. Aggressive Go-Go’s, The Breeders at the beach, Shonen Knife in the Golden State—call it what you want, it’s irresistible. After winding through a dizzying set of changes, the She’s drop the beat into a half-time dream that would make the Shangri-La’s smile, but also calls to mind English guitar bands of the ’90s, a reference reinforced by singer Hannah Valente musing about painting her lips the classic colour that gives this track its name. Then it’s back to the beat! Next, enter the restorative trance of “Heliotrope” by The Dry Spells (members of Sonny & The Sunsets, Jonas Reinhardt, Citay), produced by Tim Cohen (The Fresh and Onlys / Magic Trick) and mixed by Mikey Young (Total Control / Eddy Current Suppression Ring). The track opens with delicate guitar lines reminiscent of Jefferson Airplane’s best slow-psych (think “Today”) spilling from a wash of cymbals. Aquarian? Yes. Wishy-washy? No way, dude: A Fleetwood- McVie rhythm tightens this track, clean, warm and hypnotic under vocal harmonies that rise and rise and rise some more. Enter the guitar solo—nuanced, spacious and moody, it slides across a Fairport violin. This song is not, however, without its grittier influences. The bass line is biting as it is melodic. Sinewy and driving like a fretless Television, it coalesces with guitar and vocals into one final pitch-perfect exaltation before collapsing into the fragile sustain of a tremolo’d guitar.
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