EP Review: Reighnbeau – Slight

The latest EP from the long-running Albuquerque music project Reighnbeau – consisting solely of Colleen Johnson (Flying Circles, Silver Shadows) and Madeline Johnston (Midwife, Sister Grotto) – is a shimmering collaboration. It is not just that, though – it is an ambiguous and intriguing mosaic of dream pop and electro-folk, which simultaneously skirts the edges of IDM (Intelligent Dance Music).

Opener “Always Been U” begins with fractured harmonic vocals, all of which become scattered across electronics and autoharp to produce a magical off-kilter love song. Here is a sparkling piece of auditory art-pop, where the simple lyrics of ‘let me go’ are carried through the chaos to bolster the emotional cry out of ‘I don’t wish for anyone, I wish for someone strong enough to hold me’.

‘Gold Face’ follows with its evocation of raw emotion; this time, however, it is achieved through a more upbeat arrangement. Starting off calm, it gradually moves towards a style reminiscent of mellow IDM and electronica; the nice break-down of bubbly drum beats and dulcet vocals adds an interesting dimension, making you want to carry on listening, even if this style of music is not your usual cup of tea.

Similarly, titular track ‘Slight’ combines intermittent vocals which, given the content of most tracks, are evidently a prominent feature of the project. Indecipherable lyrics are sprinkled across a plucky, somewhat clumsy beat; yet both vocals and music create a catchy, intriguing effect as opposed to simply being annoying – the only tangible lyric that really shines through the beautifully, messy arrangement is ‘Daylight’.

The introduction of  mellow bass renders the track into a something iconically attractive; drawing upon elements of pop in a more dancey style, listeners will most definitely feel the urge to sway to its bendy curve. Reighnbeau successfully plays with tempo and dables in false stops to create a captivating piece with a very textured composition. The result? Each layer adds a new dimension.

‘Run’ follows, immediately conveying a vibe blaringly more optimistic than its predecessors through the use of whispered vocals, euphoric effects and poppy beats. Later on, this melange is met with punchy shots of energy and deeper sounds, which overall elicits mellow vibes, before climaxing with a montage of glittery vocals and rolling, tinny drums.

Acronymic ‘INLWY’ likewise emulates these themes of mellifluous sounds and lounging around, right after its melancholy-drenched introduction. Light guitar strums blend with whirring synths and breathy vocals to convey the almost inaudible lyrics ‘in love with your words/ I wash them with fire’, which against the musical backdrop, creates a beautiful sadness.

“Trading Heat” stands out as an intimate, acoustic addition to the album, concluding it with a pleasant, stripped-bare style. This emotionally raw piece trades synths and electronica for a simple, clunky melody on an untuned guitar. Stunning audible vocals and words such as ‘the clothes that linger after fires/ trading heat and spitting sparks into the dark…’ make up for the lack of lyrics.

Clearly an emotive response to the eponymous track of the sequence, whether intentionally or accidentally, it cuts off suddenly, communicating, for the final time, the unexpected nature of this masterful EP.

Megan Wood

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