True to their name, Vanishing Kids cast phantasm waves of reverb that dissipate like the last rays of ochre-streaked sun at twilight. Theirs is the sound of 4AD bands past and present, refracted through a hazy, post-punk prism. The Portland migrants (who hail from Madison, Wis.) transpose ethereal, barely there echoes with sometimes righteous riffage in a worthy homage to their more apparent influences.
Skies In Your Eyes, the band’s second full-length, is a churning cocktail of Cocteau Twins-like shimmery gauze garnished with the propulsive tribalism of Celebration. The Kids sample shoegaze, electro, and some rather sumptuous psychedelic-soul, never settling on a particular style, but through some adroit schizo-manuevering, manage instead to combine each genre in new and interesting ways.
Galloping toms on intro “This Light” recall the rambunctious rhythms of Celebration, while vocalist and keyboardist Nikki Nadz siphons Katrina Fords’ banshee bellow. The guitars in follow-up “Old Eyes” squeal sporadic bursts against weirdly undulating electro blips and science lab droning keys. “Winter” is an icy breeze sweeping through the streets of a deserted, post-apocalyptic cityscape, while “Valentine” experiments with white noise and somber piano plunks scattered on the frozen tundra, sparse and frigid.
And so most of Eyes goes: unpredictable, uncommon, and unbelievably fun to indulge in. “Identical Twin,” besides featuring one of the sweetest arpeggio riffs I’ve heard all year, and probably longer, is Vanishing Kids’ full-frontal foray into frazzled pop. When, two thirds of the way into the song, guitars fray and signal collapse, the fantastic riff surfaces from all the decay to pull it into a golden light rife with shimmering flute bursts. Elsewhere, guitarist Jason Hartman sings on Mercury Rev-informed “Bright As Night,” which saddles a loping snyth chord to ride out the fairly standard love song. Reverb-cranked climactic chiller “VK” sets the stage for acoustic denouement “Blanket Of Stars,” a simple saunter that ends things on a gentle, clearly wrought note plucked clean from two guitars.
A finely realized document to the art of pedal-induced distortion and touched revisionism, Skies In Your Eyes finds Vanishing Kids usurping the sway of their predecessors in ever scintillating fashion.