This one sounds like an 80’s band, but it’s not. Miniatures are coming from New Zealand (Christchurch) and now are based in Australia (Melbourne). They started as a dream pop/shoegaze duo releasing two EP’s; The self-titled ‘Miniatures‘ (Bleeding Gold, 2012) and ‘DIS‘ (self-relased, 2013). Since last August, Ché Walden & Annemarie Duff recruited the bassist Chris MacLean, joined Saint Marie Records and officially introduced themselves to the “world” as a trio. Alongside, announced that they were in studio, recording their debut album ‘Jessamines‘ which was expected to be released in mid 2016. Finally, the debut album was released last October.
‘Jessamines‘ is an album that all fans of dream pop are going to love and be mad about it. The dreamy atmosphere ‘floods’ from the introductory electronic elements of the opening track ‘Try‘. Gradually, the familiar dream pop guitar appears and while you think that is all, the ethereal vocals invade nicely as another sound layer, before it is over, in purpose to complete the sonic atmosphere. The successor ‘Jessamine‘, we can hear the reverb overflowing and dominant, explaining this way a real proof of the stated shoegaze band’s influences. And furthermore to be blended and become an additional hazy sound layer in Miniatures’ dreamy soundscapes alongside with the constant, in the whole of the album, well manipulated, high and in echo or delay vocals, stand out hazy guitars and all the sounds combined to create distinctive sonic textures. The track ‘To The Lake‘, brings intensely to mind the Cocteau Twins‘ skilled hazy guitar melodies, vocal harmonies manipulation and instrumentation. Anyone could say very easily that the trio is fully influenced from this pioneering dream pop band. In the fourth track ‘Form Into Soft And Wild‘ the tempo changes to “down”, the guitar with characteristic dream pop effects and cleaner vocals but with effects like delay the sonic result is dreamy and atmospheric. The most-listened song according to Spotify plays is ‘Honey‘: Firstly, cause of the hazy & ethereal vocals of Annemarie, and secondly cause of the exceptional sonic layer of reverb and delay. The soundscape becomes a swirl in alternate which takes the listener away with it. The lead single ‘What You Want‘ (available since March 2016!), whose reverb inundates from start to finish, which may become or be eventually considered as monotonous; A trap that any musician occupied with this genre can fall into by mistake or lack of combinations and uninspired instrumentation. In any case, Miniatures didn’t fall in this trap!
Conclusively, ‘Jessamines‘ is a great dream pop/shoegaze debut album from this new promising band, carrying influences from the “holy” past (Lush, The Sundays, The Smashing Pumpkins…). Alongside, it is yet another album of the one of the most significant record labels serving the genre nowadays, Saint Marie Records, and that means a lot. So prepare to take this music journey as it is described and by the label’s press review: “A journey through colour and mood, high and low, fuzzy and shiny, light and shade. Allow the waves to take you, and prepare to be swept away“.