Guest Directors return to dynamic, full-band form after a couple of experimental, home-recorded releases during the lockdown era. For Oh, To Be Weightless in the Sky, the quartet selected five songs that would best benefit from producer Jack Endino’s (Nirvana, Soundgarden, Mudhoney) extensive experience with loud rock bands. The result is a heavier sound still characterized by a strong sense of melody and a dreamy, shoegaze undercurrent throughout. Dual vocals are amped-up on this release, alongside ample layers of guitar candy that are sure to keep your headphones happy.
Opener “Another Round (An Echo)” is a full-band reimagining of “Another Round,” which was first home-recorded for the Connected Heavens EP [Topsy-009, 2021]. Inspired by a recent Seattle musician’s autobiography, the song maintains the vocal vulnerability of the original recording while detonating the power of four people recording live and loud.
Spooky and heavy in turns, “In the Cellar” dips into the darkness of the human psyche, while the music juxtaposes a haunting groove against angular noise, matched by the alternating vocals of the band’s singer/guitarists, Julie D. and Gary Thorstensen.
The propulsive “Shipwreck” again showcases the dual vocalist approach amidst the tense fury of sonic momentum. “Hidden Silos” explodes like a Roman candle thick in a pool of brooding psych where wah pedals abound. The EP closes with the quirky rocker “Words Disappear” – one of the band’s oldest songs that had never seemed to fit with previous recording sets. Given Endino’s rock bonafides, the decision to finally record the banger was a no-brainer.
Oh, To Be Weightless in the Sky reveals the assertively intricate branches Guest Directors have added to the trunk that began growing with their debut, These Beautiful Things, in 2016. A trunk that, like so many others in recent years, twisted in cleverly resourceful ways to weather the times – emerging in full bloom after a summer of sun and anticipation of the rain that awaits.
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