Yndi Halda

Ten years ago, Yndi Halda opened Enjoy Eternal Bliss upon the earth. The Brighton band basically toured extensively, and then… the act of patiently waiting set in. If you aren’t familiar with the band, you should definitely check out the album to get an idea for what you’re in for. Sure, they’ve been compared to pretty much every remarkable band that makes sprawling music, most notably Explosions in the Sky, but attempting to draw the lines amongst all of these bands whose main connection is length just seems like a bit of a lost cause at times. And after a lengthy time away from recording, we’ll try to avoid those comparisons for Under Summer, the band’s long-awaited sophomore album.

“Together Those Leaves” opens the album by channeling early 70s occult rock. There’s a striking simplicity where the buildup is ushered in by strings and large moments of sonic clarity that expand and contrast on themselves like a post-rock gravitational collapse. You embark into the starry night by foot, ship, plane, or whatever (doesn’t matter) as you engage on a solo mission to find answers in what seems like certain destiny.

As “Golden Threads from the Sun” uses an electronic organ to create a sense of reverence, the vocals that struggle to be known gain a more solid footing. Movements on the album are very clear and concise, while arrangements shift quite fluidly, and this is possibly most noticeable on this particular piece. A pace hardens, and every instrument hits and stretches itself to burn with the glow of an enveloping sun, but then the collective pulls up on the brakes to gain a contemplative feeling. A fourth part invites the voice back in, and Yndi Halda group together to march towards the brightness in unison.

A steady electro folk minimalism greets you on “Helena.” Everything seems so precise and formal at first until a shakiness that feels like the quiet before the storm enters. There’s a fever pitch approaching, but an escape is reached as the track plummets into a deserted abyss. Of course, the path is never direct, and Yndi Halda swerve to a grungy bass line that grabs all parts together to hold a constant for longer than any other portion of the album. Eventually, the subdued state has to take hold though. Slowly strolling along, the journey, a journey destined to be one done in solace, begins to hold its ground once again.

What proceeds is a deep calmness to the vocals. A seemingly inevitable outcome is to be accepted. Each string plucked is masterfully crafted to be timed as a path to the ending begins to appear. Drums become more hurried in a manner that promises comfort and shelter, and a safe refuge forms above and around you. Fearfulness is no longer to be found as you yearn to complete what lay before you, and you smile as you understand what it was all for.

Under Summer is available for pre-order via Burnt Toast Vinyl, or you can get it from your local record store on March 4th. Joey Smith