Lilacs & Champagne: Midnight Features Vol. 1: Shower Scene
(Mexican Summer, 4/15/14)
Grails bandmates Alex Hall and Emil Amos formed Lilacs & Champagne to experiment with clashing soundscapes, playing dread and beauty like an instrument and filtering it through a curtain of everyday sound. Now, on the first album of its Midnight Features series, Shower Scene, the band has added live musicians to its sample-based songs; bassist Zac Reno and Grails keyboardist Jay Clarke (Ash Black Bufflo) give another layer to already nuanced music.
Shower Scene is meant to evoke the background music of 1970s television. Everything is grooves and veiled threats, sometimes both at once. “Sensations,” a standout from the band’s self-titled 2012 album, is re-imagined as the “Corpse on the Beach version,” going from relaxed groove to police chase in a flash. “Shower Scene” is the funky soundtrack of every pizza-delivery porno your friends swore they saw, while “Cinemaxx” opens with rising tones that evoke those crappy VHS science programs you watched in elementary school, before settling into a groove that wouldn’t sound out of place on Carl Sagan’s original Cosmos.
Shower Scene feels like a historical document on psychedelics, an afternoon matinee of synesthesia.