Goldfrapp and the Pet Shop Boys found the reverb button at the same time.
Husband and Wife duo Minit Julep has created the haziest album I’ve listened to all year long. ‘In A Deep & Dreamless Sleep’ is an album full of textured beats, synths, guitars and vocals. It follows the methodology of ‘not one sound will lead us anywhere’. It is really difficult to get this kind of sound spot on and stay interesting, unique and satisfying but that is exactly what Minit Julep has done.
Across the albums 11 tracks, you’ll encounter everything from watery and distorted shoegaze rock (‘Westerly’), electropop with a breezy punch (‘Black Maps’) to astral experimental synth and vocal arrangements (‘Longshore Drift’). At no one point do you feel like you have a handle on exactly what Minit Julep will bring to the party but you know it’ll have a Vaseline smear across it. Part of the fun is detecting exactly what you are listening to and that is because everything is so interlayered. For example ‘Pulse’ has tons of drum loops, synths and both acoustic and electric guitars ringing out. There you’ve multiple vocal tracks going on just loud enough to make the words out but being drowned in the soup of music. Synthwave has nothing on this dreamland.
Occasionally Minit Julep will tackle something a little more riff focused than ethereal chords and hazy coo’s. ‘Lost’ is synthwave/shoegaze (shoehaze? If that’s not a thing – it is now) cross over where a clever and catchy riff of synths collide with washed-out vocals and hippy drums. It gets stuck in your head so easily and is the kind of riff you have on repeat whilst also thinking about how you’ll die in an apocalyptic future as envisioned in 1986. It is in these moments I hear Pet Shop Boys vibes alongside the dense synthesizers of 80’s sci-fi soundtracks.
That doesn’t mean when Minit Julep decides to bliss out on aural synths that is less than the hookier tracks. Far from it. Indeed, towards the end of the album ‘Shores’ and ‘In the Ocean’ act as a sumptuous 1-2 punch of heavenly synth music. The vocals soothe the mind whilst the synths have a fizzing crunch to them in spite of being glassy or quiet pads. It is as if they’ve been running through an electric guitar amp to be damaged a little. This crunch adds so much personality across the album and it means that even the quiet moments have grit to them.
‘In a Deep & Dreamless Sleep’ is one of those albums you’ll listen to once and think ‘ooh that’s good’. You won’t realise immediately how it has crawled into your brain. I listened to it for review in March and wrote a fairly positive one but after each listen, I wrote it. Six weeks later I had moved from liking to loving the album and so I’m glad that this review has come a bit late in the day release wise as I’m able to give it the Higher Plain Music seal of absolute approval without question. Beautifully constructed, deep and expansively layered and importantly – dreamy! This is my sleeper hit of 2021. Get it!
Recommended track: Black Maps
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