Soft As Snow – Deep Wave (Houndstooth)

Image result for soft as snow deep wave

I wouldn’t normally expect much from a new group heavily inspired by ’90s electronica, but this Nowegian duo have won me over. While the music is a creative brew of lo-fi industrial klang and menacing trip-hop paranoia, I’m mostly here for singer Oda Egjar Starheim’s stunning vocals. A bevy of effects and heavy reverb make it almost impossible to discern what she’s saying, or even what language she uses (it could be English for I know) but her vocals are mostly a mechanism for delivering melodies and texture, not narrative. This approach creates a shoegaze-like air of mystery and confusion that at times reminds me of The Cocteau Twins. Soft As Snow (whose name comes from a My Bloody Valentine song-title) explore a variety of tempos and dynamics on Deep Wave, but they’re best on songs like the title track and “Sleep Slip”, where they slow things down to a crawl and give listeners a chance to marinate inside the hypnotic moods they’ve created. An unexpected joy.