Artist: Radio for Daydreamers
CD title: Mother Superior and her Fields of Migraines
Reviewer: DJ Kantrip
Mother Superior and her Field of Migraines is the sophomore release for the Pennsylvania experimental shoegazer act, Radio for the Daydreamers. Combining elements of jazz, indie rock, and trip hop, with a gothic atmosphere, Radio for the Daydreamers creates mood music that is appropriate this coming winter season. Fans of Black Tape for a Blue Girl, Cocteau Twins, and This Mortal Coil will really enjoy this album, and the philosophical narrative woven into it.
Mother Superior... is the first installment in the Praying for the Be(a)st triptych. This first portion focuses on an undefined protagonist, as he/she makes peace with inner demons, and starts to question the nature of Right vs Wrong. The setting is supposed to take place all in one room, which explains why the album has a strong sense of loneliness, and nostalgia. Acoustic Guitars, soft trip-hop beats, and toy-like pianos play on top of very shadowy soundscapes, perfect for moments of self-reflection, for both the protagonist, and the listener. The album is 90% instrumental. Curl Up Time to Die, and I am Not Coming Back Home do feature female vocals slightly reminiscent of Switchblade Symphony's later albums, but are not the stand out tracks on this album. Crawl into My Crawl Space, is clearly the most defining track on the album. Starting off with a somber guitar and piano, but then both pick up the tempo without trying to overshadow each other, building to some lovely highpoints before winding back down. Black River Time Bomb kicks off the album with a sinister bass guitar and jazzy piano, reminiscent of a David Lynch film score.
The only thing keeping this album from being the ultimate in mood music is the production quality of the album. There is a good bit of distortion and some tracks play much louder than others. For example Magnetar Mephisto, starts of as a nice quiet piano piece, but then the wailing guitar comes in and then the piano and synthesizers start playing louder as if to compete. Every God is A Monster, completely breaks the calm quiet that is built up throughout the album. It sounds as if it was recorded on a cassette deck and lacks a lot of the complexity that the other tracks do. It comes off as more of a jam session and less of an intricate moment of awakening for the protagonist in the story. Then there's Freelance Dream Killing Machine (gunpoint dub mix), which pretty much shatters any remaining elements of the atmosphere that the previous 13 tracks had built up. It sounds completely out of place with the more Jazzy and Shoegazer feel dominating the album..
On the whole, Mother Superior and her Fields of Migraines is good. It is perfect mood music for quiet days in, and is the first part in what should be an interesting instrumental narrative. However its is rife with a lot of production issues, and the Dub remix at the end of the album feels tacked on and pointless. I do have to applaud Radio for Daydreamers. Mother Superior.. is self released, and they are taking full advantage of the creative freedom that a lot independent artists don't. Praying for the Be(a)st has the promise to be an interesting trio of albums. Lets hope the next installment overcomes some of the production issues that plagued its first chapter.
Listen to "30 Pieces of Silver"
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