Friday, 22nd June 2018. 4:31:35pm ET


Artist: Relics
CD Title: Lost Memories
Label: self-released
Reviewer: Joshua Heinrich
Date: 5/22/04

Lost Memories is a collection of 10 instrumental demos recorded from 2003-2004 by Relics, the brainchild of sole member David McQuay. Drawing heavily from The Cure, something which would be obvious even if the collection wasn't rounded out by a bonus cover of The Cure's "Untitled", the music runs the gamut from Disintegration-esque synth-heavy ethereal dirges to more guitar oriented rock jams and beautiful guitar instrumentals a la Lost Wishes while still retaining its own unique sound. While a little bit rough around the edges at times, the recording and production quality is exceptionally good for a solo demo, and the performances and songwriting found here are topnotch.

The set kicks off with the relatively brief droning synth intro "Outlier" before moving on to one of my favorite tracks on the disc, "Orange Eye", an outstanding albeit slightly muddy bass-driven instrumental rock jam with wailing guitars reminiscent of The Cure's "The Kiss", "Cut", or "The Three Sisters". Then comes the beautiful guitar-based lullaby "Picture of a Picture" followed by "Ruin", a moody minute-long interlude consisting of layers of synth and piano. The emotional guitar and bass-driven, piano accented "A Dialogue" slowly builds into a nice rock number with strong drums, while "Behind the Window" blends unsettling synths, eerie piano, echoing string scrapes/noise, and atmospheric feedback for an exceptionally creepy 9-minute sound piece that proves to be another of the disc's highlights. The beautiful mellow layered guitars of "Magnolia Tree" give way to "Uncovered Corners of the Earth", an amazing song with excellent intricate Cure-ish drums, beautiful melodic bass work by guest Brian Wroten, and melancholy piano that's punctuated by a more upbeat chorus. The song, almost undeniably the best on the entire disc, builds to a great end with incredible layered piano and additional percussion. "Aura pt. I" is another top-notch mellow rock instrumental with great Cure-esque melodic lead guitar work. "Aura pt. II", on the other hand, is an intense 7-minute psychedelic epic that starts off as a drum-driven swirl of distorted wah guitar before moving into a brief, clean melodic section and returning as a more cohesive but equally intense Smashing Pumpkins-esque distorted alt rock jam with excellent lead guitar soloing and impressive drum work. Lost Memories closes with a fairly straightforward rendition of The Cure's "Untitled", a seemingly sparser but decent bonus cover of the Disintegration-closing track that is notably the only track here with vocals.

Overall, Lost Memories is an exceptionally strong and interesting collection of excellent material that will definitely appeal to fans of Disintegration and Wish era Cure as well as fans of great moody or psychedelic alt rock in general. With demos like these, it will be interesting to see where Relics goes in the future. For those of us living in the present, however, Lost Memories is certainly worth checking out.

 

Relics website: www.geocities.com/relics_2003

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