Between bursts of wind-swept laughter and pianos dripped in reverb, the delicate vocals of Swedish quartet Audrey enters stage left, soaring majestically through string-laden choruses and dissonant waves of guitar feedback. Vocal harmonies are swapped over layers of brazen guitar clashes, while soft words are uttered revealing poignant memories of years gone by. In the distance, the curators behind the noise are revealed to us - an all-female collective whose music conjures up dreams of stumbling through dense fog, or a stroll down a country lane in the early hours of a winter morning. Visible Forms holds the key to these succinct pleasures and, as a debut album, there’s a vast amount to discuss.
It’s a difficult task to pinpoint exactly where you become encapsulated by Audrey’s music. Perhaps it’s the lyrical charm presented in opener ‘Mecklenburg’, or the drawn-out atmospherics that prove to be an obvious aesthetic success throughout the record. The opening two tracks strike with immediacy, traversing genres while baiting melodic hooks and alternating vocal harmonies. In stark contrast, ‘Leaving/Letting Go’ takes half-a-dozen listens to for its beauty to unravel, with echoed pianos and the obligatory atmospheric guitar jaunt proving unequivocally that Audrey are substance over style.
Sadly, where Visible Forms succeeds with its lyrical charms and tangible atmospherics, it fails in its lack of diversity across the record – many a song sounds not too dissimilar to the one that preceeded it. Despite this, certain tracks work brilliantly on their own. Examples of this come in the form of ‘Plain Pieces’, sounding like a female-fronted Jeniferever, or ‘The Significance Of Being Overt’, which flirts with their experimental pop sound, while sustaining the elegant tone of the record.
Visible Forms controls emotions through elaborate string sections, narrative lyrics and sweeping vocal arrangements, while adding pianos and keyboards for extra effect. Probably best listened to during the twilight hours, or those aforementioned winter mornings, Visible Forms thrives on creating atmosphere – in this case a tense and moody one which relies on the listener making sense of the lyrics and creating their own themes and images.
Some will dislike Audrey’s debut album – certain listeners will tire of it due to its lack of immediacy. If you are able to wait, though, and bypass a lack of diversity to become embraced by an album produced by a band with a lot of promise, then the coming winter months are sure to seem a whole lot warmer for Visible Forms' existence.
8Ben Yates's Score