Piel - A.K.A. Ma (album review by Nicklas S.)

Piel produce a spacey, shoegazy, rock album on A.K.A. Ma, utilizing the haunting, shimmering vocals of Tiki Lewis to create a dreamy yet also tense sound. On the first track, "Custodian," dance-oriented influences dominate the song as Lewis describes taking ownership of resources in a world where "we don't own anything" over a pounding backbeat and delayed guitars. Much of the rest of the album focuses instead on slower, less rhythmic songs where Lewis' vocals gently glide over the reverbed guitars and drums of bandmates Kenny Ramirez and Jonathan Burkes. On "Easy as it Feels," the group take their sound in a languorous direction, putting so much reverb and delay on the guitars that they sound almost like synth pads permeating every inch of the track's sound. The dance-oriented rhythm returns on "The New," easily the album's most shoegazy song reminiscent of much of Cocteau Twins' output. Though this album represents an important step forward in the dream-pop (dream-rock?) sound, I do wish the band would have further explored the dancey rhythms used on tracks 1 and 5 or the electronic instrumentation used on track 6. Still, this album is a must-listen for any fans of dream-pop or shoegaze.

Favorite Tracks (1, 4, 5)

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