Athens, Ga. space-pop outfit Pacific UV have been together for a solid 14 years, a staggering amount of time for any band, let alone one that’s always been just out of reach of the vicious online hype cycle. Yet in that same amount of time, the band has only released three full-length albums and a handful of EPs, allowing themselves some proper breathing room between releases. Yet while their discography may be truncated by the standards of a 14-year career, they nonetheless make those four years between albums worth the wait, as evident on latest album Weekends, a characteristically trippy, yet altogether blissful dream pop gem.
Pacific UV specializes in hazy, effects-laden pop that hearkens back to the most ethereal material from Mazzy Star or Spiritualized, but often with more abstract touches. At times, as on the intro to drugged-out ballad “Baby Blue,” or the album’s first track, “Friday Night Dream,” they seem more interested in texture than in structure, the songs emitting an ambient amorphousness that dissipates with time, but prove intriguing all the same. And yet, even their most accessible tunes are slow burners, never quick to rush into a hook. “I’m Here (But It’s Not Me)” is a gorgeously billowing highlight that pulses with electronic basslines and circling waves of effects, but only after it floats, unencumbered by expectations or impulse, for a solid minute or so. Which isn’t to say they’re incapable of injecting a brisk rush of energy, as on the shoegazer-with-vocoder rave-up “Ballerina.”
There’s a consistent current of chilled-out, half-awake and beautiful ambiguity to Weekends, its ethereal atmosphere content never to explode or erupt out of its warm, cloudy climate. And it would be sort of a disappointment if it did, actually. The band is expert at creating mood from soft edges and shapeless elements, only to gradually sculpt them into their own misty cathedrals. At 40 minutes long, Weekends may seem a bit brief after four years, but then again, ambience and elegance like this takes time to get right.
Video: Pacific UV – “Ballerina”
Jeff Terich is the founder and editor of Treble. He's been writing about music for 20 years and has been published at American Songwriter, Bandcamp Daily, Reverb, Spin, Stereogum, uDiscoverMusic, VinylMePlease and some others that he's forgetting right now. He's still not tired of it.