It reeks of nostalgia; faded t-shirts, basement bedrooms and cassette tapes.
Unreal, the debut album from Hebronix – headed up by ex-Yuck frontman Daniel Blumberg – is smooth sailing. The singer-songwriter brings a suitcase of '90s alt.rock revival modicums salvaged from his previous venture, and stretches them out long and languid like a sunny afternoon.
For the most part, these tracks are in no hurry, meandering through familiar guitar fuzz and into the unchartered territory of flutes and strings. If you're searching for something in these layers of chaos, it's unlikely you will find it – mess and mayhem abounds at times. If, on the other hand, you sink deep into the pool of sounds, there's plenty of hazy gratification. The Plan is almost hypnotising in its melodic repetition. Viral is the most accessible and structured of the tracks, clocking in just under six minutes. Rolling bleeps and a simple guitar hook provide a soft pillow for vocals that verge on saccharine, reminiscent of dream pop icons Real Estate. While this track will probably be revisited most often, it's not the most compelling piece on offer.
Blumberg's voice thrives when it is given room to breathe. The title track chants the mantra “I feel unreal” with all the melancholic conviction of musical siblings Kurt Vile or Mac DeMarco. It reeks of nostalgia; faded t-shirts, basement bedrooms and cassette tapes. But where Vile and DeMarco provide a history of their own, Hebronix opts for musical magnitude over rich storytelling, leaving a hollow at the core of this record.
But, where it lacks lustre, Unreal provides reveries aplenty. Each groove plays out to completion, like slow moving waves gently rolling into the next.
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