Pitched somewhere between shoegaze-informed atmosphere, especially in how Kevin Shields
appreciated the use of reverb and echo even at the quietest moments, and sweet early-'70s folk-rock harmonies, the latter as refracted through the succeeding generations that have resulted in the CSNY
-styled revivals of the 21st century, Winterpills
' All My Lovely Goners
is a rich and often quite enjoyable listen. "Amazing Sky" could almost be a sweet recollection of a ramble on a summer's day, were it not for the lyrics talking about essentially laying someone or something to its eternal rest. A song like "Rogue Highway," mixing both a classic Motown stomp and a bit of '80s R.E.M.
to slip below the flowing singing, works in context just as well as the vocals and acoustic guitar-based "The Sun Is Alone," a truly lovely ballad that might be the album's overall highlight amid its generally engaging mix. The opening signal-sound strings on "Fleur-de-Luce" come close for a suddenly gripping moment, with the song -- as with "The Sun Is Alone," sung by Flora Reed
in the lead -- being an atmospheric, elegant meditation that feels out of time, just enough. Some sentiments may be a little too heavy-handed (thus "Pretty Girls," which completes the title line "...make me sad"), but aren't complete clunkers either. And as long as the band continues to produce such quiet stunners as "January Rain," a mixture of understated harmonizing, steadily rougher drumming, flute and string parts sliding in and out of the flow, and sudden exultant breaks where everything swirls upward into a burst, everything will continue to be just fine.