A Thousand Hours: Endless Grey (Vesper Records, 2017)

A Thousand Hours: Endless Grey (Vesper Records, 2017)

by Jason

A Thousand Hours consists of Red Collier (Aural Blankets) on vocals, keys and guitar; Demi Haynes (Seashine, Two Souls) on vocals, guitar, and bass; Albert Gresens on guitar and bass; and Nadi Mack (Nadicomo) on synth and vocals.  Mandy Clare (Lights that Change) makes a guest appearance on the first two songs on vocals. The band formed in December of 2016 and have quickly come up with a set of impressive tracks for their March debut. They produce lovely slowgaze compositions that are patient and yet have layered complexity to them. Dreamy and ethereal, Endless Grey is a brilliant debut for this quartet and each piece really grabs the listener’s attention and mesmerizes.

The album starts with the titular track, “Endless Grey”. It begins with reverb-drenched acoustic guitar which generates beautiful tonal qualities. Sparse drums enter the mix and Collier’s first vocals begin. Haynes offers her ethereal vocals as backup here and it creates this beautifully, otherworldly sense. As the intro states, this is slowgaze, with a tempered pace and dreamy, swirling walls whirling throughout. It’s an inviting beginning to this aural journey. “B” begins with an undulating drone that swells and then beautiful strings dot the landscapes as layers of warm synths are added. The bass line sits atop the cascading melodies as the vocals are slowly expressed in pensive lines. Guitars play a lilting melody in conversation with keys and other strings. It’s a gloriously deep piece, with layers that evoke both beauty as well as melancholic emotions.

“Ship” begins with a deep bass line thumping in the speakers that is eventually joined by cymbals, snare, and dark, reverbed drenched vocals. Bright guitars join and begin to shimmer in the darker moody setting. There is almost a slowed down Joy Division feel here, pensive and abidingly morose. “Moments” is loftier and soaring. It has a bright synth wall that is enveloping, wrapping the listener in a dense blanket of noise. Synths play a beautiful melody over the floating terrain. When there are vocals, they are recessed and mysterious. This is a composition that you sit deeply in and soak in as it washes over you.

“Tender” begins with gleaming guitars and then a rather different sort of beat, led by the bass line, which snakes onto the aural scene. The bass work really is the central piece to this track. The guitars and drones sit around the bass, playing about in a slow procession. The vocals dance about, seated shallowly in the mix. “Hold” begins in an almost chaotic way with drums faintly pounding under rumbling guitar and drony tones. It has the feeling of being underwater as if one is listening through a muffled barrier. It’s a brief interlude, but powerful and emotive. “Down” lifts the listener out of the deep end into the airy night sky with bright guitars and breathy synths. When the bass and drums kick in, you get an instant Slowdive vibe from this track. The guitars are hypnotizing and background vocals almost mystical.

“Flood” begins with an almost slow-moving rock melody that evokes the psychedelic side of the genre. The drums and the bass thump underneath, plodding along as they move the otherworldly track along. This song is a trip, in the 70’s, sort of drug culture sense. It’s a beautifully constructed slow psychedelic dirge. “The Desolate Hour” has a metronymic guitar line that sits over bright percussion and sparse bass. It’s certainly a melancholy lament, moving in a ponderous sort of shuffle. “Ah’s” float about amid the instrumentation, ghostly and ethereal.

“Rainy Days” is another slow moving psychedelic song with hazy, whirling vocals, strong bass work, sparse drums, and sprinkles of guitar work. Nico Beatastic takes part on this track as the vocalist and he’s brilliant. “Closure”, an appropriate title for the finale, has trippy drum work and bounding bass. The guitar work reminds me of New Order but with a psychedelic edge. It’s a 5:20 long instrumental that gets the head bobbing to the slow, steady beat. This is the march to the end of the musical journey and it’s glorious.

A Thousand Hours have, in a very short time, constructed an entire album that invests in a multitude of genres and yet makes the entire LP sound coherent. The center of the album’s construction is a steady slowcore sensibility that continually morphs and adapts to shoegaze, post punk, and psychedelia. Endless Grey is an impressive set of slowgaze tracks that dazzle from start to finish. Endless Grey will be released on March 17th.


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