Photography & Journalism
The record opens with the sound of traffic and rain like it's being heard from an apartment window of those rare city streets that are quiet, which could be inspired by New York, where the band are based. The use of real world elements immerses you in the world they've created from the beginning, which is a really clever element to use. This is repeated a number of times through the record, through the sound of water and waves, or snippets of the band talking during recording.
The overall atmosphere of the record seems to be very earthy and personal. There are the elements of pop-punk creating an angsty feeling in some songs, others are more folky, or even tropical, but the alternative roots are there constantly, allowing the other elements to blossom from it but remaining the core of the sound.
I really love the youthful tone of the vocals, which feel untampered with allowing for the the personality of Jordanna to show. It brings a human feeling and creates a personal connection between the artist and listener. Even when the vocals are layered to create gorgeous harmonies the natural lead vocals are made to stand out rather than being compromised or melted into them. In some cases the backing vocals are used as instruments themselves, singing their own melodies the way an a cappella would, building melodies, creating atmospheres, and adding to the timbre.
The guitar work is beautiful. The tracks are woven together like dancers working together, circling one another. Each is beautiful and they glide along together complimenting each other's movements in each song. I particularly enjoy the lead guitar in 'Tender Curiosity' which has a tropical jazzy tone and a special bounce.
The drums are consistently beautiful element which have a great effect on each track, acting as the solid ground on which the songs are built. The atmospheric composition is stunning and performed to perfection. In some cases the shimmering sound of the cymbals combined with the Jamaican conga-like style beats builds the image of a golden beach, which is most prominently shown in 'Tender Curiosity'. Gus Buttolph (studio drummer) composed pieces fitting for the mood of each song while maintaining his unique style, which is an important factor binding the songs together and making them cohesive.
Honestly, I could go on for pages analysing the stunning details and elements which make this record special, like the sharp jolts of sound in 'Bedroom Song' which make the song sound cut up and angsty, and emphasise the lyrics. I'm pretty sure I could dedicate a page to the imagery of Spanish dancers brought about by the brass elements and quit, intense strumming of the guitar in Tango Lauren. I think this record is truly worth the listen just so you can discover and appreciate these things yourself.
'Cycle of Opposites' is a work of fine art. I pick up on more and more precious details with each listen. It's a beautiful, poetic, cohesive, and truly unique record. Listen to it. Really listen. You won't regret it.
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