Dream pop, Shoegaze
Beaches, Crystal Stilts
White Poppy is the solo project of musician Crystal Dorval, and her first full-length is packed with mind-expansive dream pop and lo-fi shoegaze. It’s a very soft and peaceful album; she describes her music as 'experimental therapeutic pop', which pretty much sums up the album very well. Dorval, from British Columbia, performs all instruments and vocal arrangements, which is pretty impressive.
Opening track "Darkness Turns to Light" has an ambient shoegazing aura about it, as it sets the mood for the rest of album. The soft, lofty vocals feel as if they are floating carelessly above the music which helps extenuate this dream-like mood. "Wear Me Away," the second song follows the same dreamy path; the music here has a lo-fi Verve or The Cure quality about it. We have no doubt that you’ll be whisked away with songs like "Joyride" and "Dead Night". The headphone experience for these two is wonderful and it picks up so much of the spacious, monotone sounds and the bass that develops in "Joyride" is a pleasant surprise. One of the weakest tracks off the album may be "Today Tomorrow" as the dream pop synths seem to be overwhelming. Even though they are soft, they seem to overshadow other elements and take over the song.
On "Emotional Intelligence," another somewhat dull song, we are subjected to dream-like ambiance and not much rhythm going on here. That’s the one aspect about this album that drew us in was the subtle
rhythm burrowed into these songs, well it’s not on this one. This song is actually quite soothing to the ear if you have tinnitus issues, so there is a therapeutic aspect to this. Also, it would be more tolerable if this track stayed under the two minute mark. The album makes a comeback on "Without Answers" and "Dizzy," these songs bring back the lofty ambient shoegaze feel. At this point of the album we felt that all the songs sound a bit too similar to one another, there is not much diversity happening, perhaps by design, which explains the therapeutic feel Dorval is going for.
The last two songs are very trance-like; the sprawling guitar in "Skygaze" is very hypnotic, while the underlying synths and bass carry the song. And "Existential Angel," the final track has an ambient aura and resembles the soft side of the band Warpaint. The ghostly echoed vocals are calming as the song will drift on and on to close and leave you in a relaxed state of mind. Our only beef with this album is that it tends to sound the same and there is really not much difference between all the songs, except for a couple, which is common in the dream pop genre. - 9/13/2014
Standout Tracks: Darkness Turns to Light, Wear Me Away