THE STILLS > Oceans Will Rise
Label: Arts and Crafts
The cherished bouncy new wave mope of their debut returns with a tell-tale touch of match-lit mysticism and its old pal, metempsychosis. As intimated by the album’s title, the grim slide approacheth. “Snow in California” notes the Mayan calendar ends, the following song asks, “Who’s/Snakecharming the masses/At the end of time.” While this may read like The Stills are wallowing in eschatology, the songs themselves don’t convey that affect. For example, “Every emptiness you’re inside/You trade death for life,” in “Panic” is made to sound comforting, just before a sudden roar and signature change.
Madness in a shifting self and a roiling world is couched in lush layered pop throughout. “Being Here” is the anthemic play on this theme, “Statues of Sirens,” the fragile end of that spectrum. Souls reeling in and out of the void and chaos rarely sound this good.