Genre-hopping Athens, GA rock band pacificUV have recently released their fourth LP After The Dream You Are Awake on Mazarine Records. Their most concise and matured work to date, After The Dream relies far more heavily on the interplay between lyrics and musical textures than any of their previous releases. But while the attention to lyrical detail is all over this record, the band never forgets that, first and foremost, pacificUV have made their reputation dealing in imaginative combinations of sound and tone. Having already mapped out huge expanses of dream pop, shoegaze, and post-rock landscapes on their previous albums, their latest collection finds the band carefully maneuvering between genres and influences–oftentimes within the same song.
Taking time recently from their hectic schedules, band members Laura Solomon, Clay Jordan, and Lemuel Hayes spoke with Beats Per Minute about some of the records which have influenced their own approach to music. From Chan Marshall’s fierce independence on What Would the Community Think to Mark Kozelek and Neil Halstead’s intensely personal introspection, not to mention Portishead’s gargantuan live abilities, the members of pacificUV draw on a wide range of genres and artists to form the backbone of their own sound. Check out the full list below in the latest installment of our On Deck series.
I grew up studying classical piano and surrounded by a lot of conservative ideas about music. This album was one of the first that dismantled a lot of that and taught me to feel with my ears, maybe to feel period. First there’s Chan Marshall’s voice, which is arguably at its most candid, fearless, and unpredictable here, yet always scrupulously attentive and true to the emotional complexity of the moment. The music too is stripped down but unwieldy, the lyrics densely sparse. I love every single song on this album, most intensely “Nude As the News” (so indignant), “Taking People,” “King Rides By,” and “Bathysphere.” It’s a doleful, uninhibited, visionary album in which disillusionment gets replaced by this bright-dark clarity, and its hold on me has never waned. I can’t go more than a few months without returning to it.
Certain albums inevitably remind you of when you first heard them and this record is like that. I was around 14 at the time and mostly into faster, British bands, but I had just gotten my wisdom teeth taken out and listened to this on repeat while in bed on painkillers. The arrangements are perfect and impossibly slow with Mark Kozelek’s beautiful voice on top. His lyrics are heartbreaking without being overwrought. This is music one has to ease into over repeated listens and I wonder if in today’s accelerated musical culture, this would fly under most listeners radar.
Another record that is understated, quiet, and a bit of a grower. I was a huge Slowdive fan and skeptical upon hearing that the main songwriter, Neil Halstead, had formed a new band that traded in its effects pedals for an acoustic guitar and slide. However, this album is gorgeous from start to finish and sensual; maybe it could be seen as the Sade for the indie rock set? There is a mournful, late night feel to the album which is perfect for falling asleep to. What makes this record extra resonant is knowing that the two vocalists had recently broken up so the desolate lyrics about a relationships end feel almost too intimate.
I stumbled onto the video for the title track by accident, which so rarely seems to happen these days. Mostly, I’m someone that sometimes scours blogs, but usually just waits until I hear people talking about it. Then I became the guy talking about this album. Suzanne’s voice is amazing, both in range and expression. Combine that with some mean sounding synth and great drumming/programming, and I’m pretty much sold. The time pulse trickery in the intro of “White Foxes” never gets old for me. “Meditation in an Emergency” is a wonderful, symphonic respite, which immediately takes my mind back to Rob Dougan’s album “Furious Angels,” which I still love.
From the first time I remember hearing Dummy, I have been totally sold on Portishead. My number one question that always lurked around the back of my mind was “What would this sound like live?” This is a big question because, like so many other bands that I love, I was super late to the party. Pretty much since my first listen, they were on indefinite hiatus. Third came and went, but then I randomly stumbled across PNYC in the used section of a record shop. To say that I was excited would be a gross understatement. As I drove home that night, the bridge of “Mysterons” hit and it blew my mind. I think the rest of the ride home might have just been that song on repeat because, in addition to the amazing bridge in the live version, Clive Deamer DESTROYS with that sick groove. I love that groove.
pacificUV’s latest record After The Dream You Are Awake is out now on Mazarine Records.