23:23 - Softest Wave, Drifter, Torero
I've been hoping to write a bit more about 23:23 for a while, but wasn’t sure I'd quite get around to it given that every week we're bombarded with new releases. I mentioned the release of his triple album a few weeks ago, but I knew it would take me ages to digest a full 3 albums. So for those of you who don’t know, 23:23 is the side project of Rami Vierula from the Delay Trees. The albums were written and recorded over a few years, mostly it appears at night, and seem to be based on the circumstances of where he was at the time, and what he felt he needed to write about.
There’s no doubt that they take a bit of getting into - low-fi, hazy, dreamy tunes that will float in and out of your consciousness. But the thing is, I keep coming back to them. I keep wanting to explore more into the 23:23 world, because it’s actually packed full of great ideas, interesting melodies and intriguing lyrics. And because there’s 3 albums to explore, i keep finding new stuff every time i listen. For sure, this won’t be for everyone, but if you like slightly unusual offbeat releases, you may well find as much as i have here.
You will of course be delighted to know that I'm not going to even try and write a detailed review of each of the albums, I'll just offer a few pointers. The opening and oldest album 'Softest Wave' is probably the most lo-fi, if such a thing exists, it feels raw, and the melodies are simple - take 'I'm Not in Pain Anymore' and possibly my favourite track out of all the releases 'New Year'.
The second album 'Torero' starts softer, less, and apparently is meant as a series of love songs. But 'All of My Heart ' and 'Bands' are catchy Indie Pop songs hidden under a haze of fuzz, and 'Teargas Attack' is different again, an ambient track that evolves with subtlety as you listen.
But the 3rd album ‘Drifter’ is possibly my favourite of the 3 (at least this week), the lyrics are slightly darker and it opens with 2 of the best tracks, ‘American Graffiti’, before the brilliant ‘Teenage Wife’. But ‘Winona’, ‘Never Gonna End’ and ‘Tropicture’ are all tracks with clever little tunes that will dance around your mind all day.
Softest Wave', 'Torero, and 'Drifter' have only been out for 1 month, yet every time I listen I feel I'm already delving into an old box searching for a treasured but dusty vinyl - they have that timeless, slightly aged scratchy quality, not that it seems to matter. And whilst I'm not claiming that there are 29 Pop Classics that will grab you, just give these albums some airplay over time, add a few tracks to your favourite playlist, and immerse yourself into the 23:23 world, there is a rare quality in this history of songwriting that is waiting to be discovered.
Nordic Music Review 8/10