Sounding akin to a church choir, the sophomore release from Brooklyn band Snowmine is filled with angelic vocals that bubble toward the sky like effervescent puffs of cloud.
On Dialects, lead singer/composer Grayson Sanders picks up where he left off when Snowmine released their debut album Laminate Pet Animal via Bandcamp in 2011. His voice is as soft and stretched as before. But this time, he quietly thunders through rock arrangements inspired by classical music and layered atop mellow jazz and afro-beats juxtaposed to the just as mellow but more progressive rock found on that debut record.
The result is an album that burrows into the mind like expanding ice.
Pop interludes like the wintry ditties “Rome” and “Columbus” provide sweet moments that break up the more Avant-garde chunks of Dialects. The sixth track “Safety in an Open Mind” is an instrumental synth-laden prog-jazz number that steers the record’s final five songs into its most experimental outputs, shuttering any designs the album might have had at whimsy.
Not to say that Dialects isn’t fun to listen to, it’s surprisingly uplifting largely due to Sanders’ vocals, but it’s also somber at the same time. In that way the album is perhaps even a poignant representation of the band’s namesake, a story about Sander’s grandfather leading a platoon through a snowy field of land mines during the Korean War.
In fact, armed with that knowledge, it’s almost impossible to listen to its crisp songs and not feel a chilly shudder travel through your shoulders; making Dialects an album that results in listening experiences rather than simple background music.