healthyliving – until/below EP
Release Date: 25/06/2021
Running Time: 07:34
Review by Steven Hooke
It’s staggering how many post-rock, shoegaze, gloom-adjacent bands have broken through over the past few years. Maybe it’s got something to do with economic and near-societal collapse, the waves of finding out our childhood heroes are nonces and wrong uns, a globally-mishandled pandemic, or a sharp decline in human compassion in lieu of greed and selfishness. But who knows? I just review music on the internet.
Today’s offering of void-core comes in the form of cross-Europe trio healthyliving with their debut release consisting of two songs ‘until’ and ‘below’. The band consists of Madrid-born singer Amaya López-C, who also operates an experimental folk/jazz project called Maud The Moth, plucker of strings Scott McLean from Scotland who also performs with post-rock-turned-drone metal act Falloch and German stoner rock outfit Lasse Reinstroem, and Stefan Pötzsch, a German session drummer who has also worked with Lasse Reinstroem, as well as Luc Stargazer and Boozoo Bajou. The band have offered a little taste of their musical output as they work towards their debut album, currently expected sometime in 2022.
‘until’ feels like the stronger of the two tracks, a deep, bass-heavy shoegaze stomper with tinges of psychedelia and stoner rock. López-C’s voice floats over its depressing surroundings in a similar vibe to Oathbreaker’s Caro Tanghe during the quiet moments of ‘Needles In Your Skin’ and ‘Stay Here/Accroche-Moi’, creating an ethereal hold on the listener, with subtle discordancy broken up by proper gurn-face choruses.
‘below’ is a more subdued track, a gentle, rolling guitar line once again swimming along the current of those hypnotising vocals. This almost, idyllic setting created in the first half of the song makes the droning guitars of the second half feel all the more terrifying. A sudden progression of musical anxiety as a muddy guitar sound evolves into softly-backed vocals in a style similar to Myrkur’s folk outings, estranged harmonics, and a cold, imposing drum beat.
healthyliving are certainly worth your attention. Shoegaze that knows how to be heavy without treading on drone and doom’s toes, and tell a bigger story with a minimalist output. Stefan and Scott deserve full credit for such, with McLean worthy of another mention owing to his production handling of Amaya’s vocals. A soft and delicate delivery is turned into anguish and uncertainty, which could prove to have some amazing potential. BBC Introducing and Roadburn certainly seem to think so.
‘until’ (Official Video)
Amaya López-C – Vocals
Scott McLean – Guitars, Bass
Stefan Pötzsch – Drums
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