3233 by vaneyes is an absolutely outstanding album that incorporates lo-fi Elliott Smith melodies, the open skies and desert air of Texas, some Lindsay Buckingham production techniques, and some magnificent lyrics and melodies.
“bright white strands” has a melancholic melody over some sweeping synths, rolling guitars and a lo-fi but excellently programmed drum machine. “over and inward” has some beautiful piano work and really shows off the vocal range of the singer between the sneer of the verse and the falsetto that the chorus opens up into. “on the square” incorporates some pleading pedal steel like guitar swells against a chugging acoustic guitar and wonderfully mournful lyric. “on the shutter” opens with a repeated mantra in the lyric against some atonal piano that finds its way into the song as more of a cluster. The fuzzy bass-like tone has some elements of Neutral Milk Hotel and there are some interesting Morse code/typewriter percussive moments in the middle.
“freeway lines” shows great contrast between the open moments of arpeggiated guitars against haunting organs against the whoosh and drive of the more rhythmic chorus. The melody is catchy and the plucked banjo against the strummed guitar finds a really wonderful timbre. “sitting by” showcases some fantastic vocal harmonies, a Beatles-esque melody, and more great keyboard interplay between the piano and organ. The piano motif that opens up in the instrumental breaks is a wonderful countermelody to what the voice has established.
“company” finds vaneyes channeling Elliott Smith’s whispered melodies against a steady gallop of drums and some lush ‘80s synth pads. The layering in of instruments from a simple beginning to a more full sound is subtle, clever and effective. “cold” is a stark lyric with appropriately chilling vocal reverb over fingerpicked acoustic guitar, fuzzed out reverb drenched electrics and a driving piano pattern. The sparseness of the tambourine hits lets the song truly breathe and punctuates each line with precision.
“sidewalks” plays with the concept of time in pushing and pull of momentum in acoustic plucks and piano that melts and reconstructs itself like a Dali painting. There are also some great country harmonies that add a ghost-like haunt to the final section of the song. “oxnard st” closes the album by opening up in a similar way to the beginning of the album with building synths but soon moves towards a lo-fi dream pop ‘80s dance groove. It sounds like Bon Iver hanging out with Beach House.
Overall, the album is a master class of how to incorporate excellent songs and performances into a lo-fi mix-tape setting. Each song is well thought out, never meanders and is excellently executed.
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