Airiel: Melted (Clairecords, 2004)

by Jason

wk_melted_covers_editEach time I hear new music from Jeremy Wrenn, I am nothing but pleased. I like the concept behind Winks and Kisses because it allows the listener to really hear a development in the artist. For those not in the know, Winks and Kisses is a 4 EP set that has been released one EP at a time every season or so. Melted is the third in that serious and the last, Crackled, is due out this spring with a box to buy as an option. Melted contains tracks 9-12 in the series and it is a great contribution.

Melted begins with blissfully distorted noise and off-kilter drums. “Jeanette,” the first track, has Wrenn‘s vocals pushed back in the mix swimming in layers of guitars: layered, soaring and noisy. The seemingly erratic drum lines give the song a really unique feel. All the layers are also superimposed upon a pillow of intense fuzz. Perhaps that fuzz is a reflection of some of the ocean imagery in the lyrics. “How can I ever see through you / don’t want to sleep / it’s a sea again.” “Sharron Apple” follows on the heals of “Jeanette” with a quiet, subdued feel at the beginning. I think Wrenn really does an intricate thing with his lyrics on this song. He intertwines the bliss of having the one he loves near but also indicates, both in him and the girl, that there is always a side in ourselves that we fear to show. Perhaps that will chase the ones we love away. Wrenn also displays some of the best vocals on this track. Maybe it’s the feel of the song or some emotion he is communicating through it, but it certainly contains what I find to be Wrenn‘s best vocal work to date. His vocals are back in the mix again, but they contribute something to the song like no other Airiel song I have heard yet.

“Firefly” is the only track on Melted that has lyrics and vocals from another artist. Stella Tran contributes beautifully to this track with her ethereal, beautiful vocals. With Wrenn‘s penchant for writing about relationships in his life, it is nice to have a female counterpart to that appear in the series. This song is more atmospheric and ghostlike than the others on the disc. It gets away from the noise of the other tracks and gives the listener a repose from it at a great time on the EP. What stands out musically on this track is the simple drums and the intricate bass line that sit behind the wash of beautiful guitar and vocals. “In Your Room” is the final track on the EP and it clocks in at 9:26. It is a blissful song with more pop elements than any of the others on the disc. Wrenn‘s vocals come up in the mix again as if to indicate an answer to Tran in the previous track. In general, I am no fan of lengthy songs, but there are a few that can grab you throughout and make you sit back and bask in the sounds, melody, and vocals. “In Your Room” is one of those tracks.

Wrenn‘s work in this series just keeps getting stronger with each EP. I am excited about Crackled which should be forthcoming in the near future. If shoegaze is your bag, pick up Airiel. You won’t be disappointed.

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