Water, It Feels Like It's Growing
It's very easy to lament the days of the past. Especially when you regret taking chances on things that would leave you outside of your comfort zone and wheelhouse. "Ask that girl out?... No way, man, she's out of my league." "Leave a job?... I got security there and free daily bagels." "Travel the world... And go into debt, venturing into unfamiliar territories? Nah. " It takes a youthful essence to make those leaps out of complacency, springing forth into any possible chaos. And in that chaos, you can go "with it", find a path with no end, as every fork in the road begets another.
Unless you die.
That would royally suck and is totally known to happen. But it's all about the journey and not the destination, right?
Enter Atsuko Chiba's latest effort, Water, It Feels Like It's Growing. The Montreal quintet has taken another step forward with a hearty, layered effort that is equally cohesive as it is sporadic within its 36-minute runtime. In respective psyche rock fashion, I found the album perfect for those who really want to listen to what's coming through the speakers or headphones. An almost stream-of-consciousness composing but still harkens back to previous movements and passages, as it leaves the listener strictly in the moment enjoying what is presented. Luckily, if the moment is at its most chaotic musically, or the standout shouting, "Fucked Up! / I'm the culprit!" on the track ‘So Much For’, or within the drone groove of the title track... it is all welcome. It's all a part of the journey Atsuko Chiba has invited us on, enhanced by tripping on something that was given to us from an unmarked ziploc bag. The snozzberries taste like snozzberries.
Opening the EP with ‘Sunbath’ was a great first chess move. A musically dark and ominous beginning underlying singer Karim's inviting vocal lines, a youthful yearn for change out of complacency, and tonally familiar. After the fifth minute, there's a break through the clouds where the music offers an uplifting moment facing the end. Everything is going to be okay, everyone! Remember, it's all a part of the journey, m'kay!?
Water... is chock full of dynamics expertly enhanced by a rich production and mixing. Guitars don't overpower the soundscape as it could with most psyche-rock outputs, leaving space for synths and a guest-starring horn section. A special moment worth noting is the opening to the fourth track, ‘Seeds’. Reminiscent of The Beach Boys ' "Till I Die" vocal opening, the two tracks share a similar warmth. Emoting such a personal, emotional touch to an otherwise busy and layered album, encapsulates the less-is-more notion, giving us little, while speaking volumes in the grander scheme and tone of the album. Water... is a lush post-prog-psych-rock-whathaveyou for the active listener, spiraling outward on the cobblestone streets of Venice, perfect for musical escapism. Traveling isn't for everyone; some people prefer to stay home. But even if you're a homebody, turn off the lights and tune into Atsuko Chiba's latest - because it's worth the trip.