Still Corners, Dead Blue, Wrecking Light Records
Some believe in fate, others don’t. Fate suggests faith, and for those that don’t believe, perhaps serendipity would be better. From the moment they met some seven years ago, Still Corners have existed in a serendipitous cocoon, for their every decision seems to be a fortuitous twist of possibility.
Their well documented conception began in 2009 when Greg Hughes and Tessa Murray met by chance on a train platform on a commute to London Bridge where, when their train failed to stop at their destination, they bonded over a mutual love of books and music. She was now going to be late for choir whilst he, somewhat conveniently, had a position for a vocalist that needed filling. It was her turn on a double A-side that got the band signed, and since then they have been on a steady incline with their blend of electronica and dreamy pop.
After deciding that London was proving too expensive for their endeavours, a recent drive to Deal in Kent saw Hughes and Murray up sticks permanently. As such, renting a house on the beach proved rewarding, as their position on the coast provided the band with endless inspiration for their latest release Dead Blue, and so much of the tones used feel oceanic. Deep, moody synths anchor their hypnotic single ‘Lost Boys’, an unlikely ode to troubled lost boy Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys, whose biography Catch A Wave Murray had just finished reading at the time of writing. And talking of Murray, she captivates endlessly with her inscrutable vocal, one that veers between unapologetically aloof and the breathless incantations of the desolate ‘Crooked Fingers’.
But the watery expanse is more than just an aesthetic, as with Dead Blue, Still Corners dissect internal depths of love, loss, hope and death. The aptly titled ‘Currents’ ripples with electro-pop energy as it struggles to reach above – or alternately, own – their restraints, whilst ‘Bad Country’ sonically revels in its darkness; smoke, mirrors and sighs. They flit by the 80s in the glitteringly melancholy ‘Down with Heaven and Hell’, and similarly the warm and punchy synthesised bassline in ‘Downtown’ evokes a bittersweet longing and nostalgia. Elsewhere, ‘The Fixer’ turns things on its head by shirking much of the electronica in favour of strummed acoustics and a surprisingly wailing guitar. If ‘Night Walk’ is anything to go by, then the ebb and flow of the ocean can be an endless source of inspiration, as the song in question practically roils with the capricious tides, and similarly so Dead Blue itself.
The duo’s third album touches deeper territories than the band have come close to before, their previous release – 2013’s Strange Pleasures – being a far more affable listen. Contrastingly, Dead Blue drags us under with darker sounds and darker themes, so much so that at times it almost doesn’t feel that you are listening to the same band – but you are. Perhaps then, Hughes’ and Murray’ indefinite sojourn to the coast proved a happy accident, and perhaps Still Corners are going with the current that they were always meant to.