Trip Fuel – Departure
The up and coming hopefuls from Hefei don’t disappoint on their ambitious and tender ode to bittersweet love and pain. Released on Wuhan’s Wild Records, the band manages to cover quite a bit of ground – everything from twisty math rock to post rock intrigue, with splashes of shoegaze introversion and dream pop vulnerability thrown in for good measure – but what stands out most is the band’s unwillingness to stick to the script all the while creating a distinctive mood. One minute they lull you in with a moment of atmospheric post-emo rock ease before ratcheting up the tension with a reverb-heavy noise rock breakdown. A promising debut that pays respect to our adolescent fragility and the volatile emotions that lurk just beneath the surface.
Like the peace and calm before falling asleep, Burbur, the ambient electronic music project from producer Qiufan Qu (of dream pop trio Goodbye Honey Boy), creates soundscapes that infiltrate your mind and blankets your consciousness in a vapor-like tranquility. On Sleep In The Water, out on Ruby Eyes Records, the artist takes a granular synthesizer to shatter the lush sound textures of the samples, the warm low frequencies of a analog synthesizer, and various field recordings captured in the autumn/winter of 2017 on a 80s miniature tape recorder. Combined together they create a mood of lo-fi nostalgia, as the fragmented soundbites wrap around your ears like a distant dream. Intimate, elegance and slightly foreboding, it’s the kind of music that submerges you. Hypnotic stuff.
The band may lack the bite or subtlety they once brandished, but the good times are still a plentiful on their latest album Birth to Bloom, their first in four years. Packed with songs tailored-made for the stadium, singer Liang Long continues to lead the beautifully orchestrated circus – with his larger-than-life voice and persona complimenting the rambunctious and colorful party unfolding behind the lyrics (which luckily hasn’t loss much of its subverted and sneaky charm). Nevertheless, it still feels like an incomplete meal, or one that’s doesn’t taste as savory as it looks, particularly in the album’s lackluster second half (saved by the album’s slow burn closing track). Bigger and bolder, and more than a bit bloated, Second Hand Rose prove once again to be the rock stars they are.