This is the second single I have had the pleasure of reviewing from Florida based Cathedral Bells, which is the newest project from Matthew Messore, formerly of House Plants and Dear Tracks. I hate to be so cliché’ with this comparison, but with every new project the content he creates only gets stronger – begging the wine analogy where the grape only becomes more complex and pleasing to the palette with each new vintage that is introduced to us.
I got a chance to ask Matthew for a little bit of insight about the creation of the song, and he offered me this; “It took over a year working on the song Ethereal Shadow, and with this came a lot of change in my life. I wrote about the transitions and uncertainty of life”. A powerful statement that can be clearly heard within the track. It can be noted that this was also selected to be the final track of the EP, lending itself to be the last thing that the listener hears and lingers on.
Upon listening I feel that “Ethereal Shadow” sounds exactly how I wanted last year’s Wild Nothing “Indigo” release to. While I loved that album, none of the songs quite hit the markers that I was looking for. This track sounds like something that would have been included on “Nocturne”. (A similar comparison to Wild Nothing was also made when I reviewed the track that was released in November of last year, “A Passing Phase”. I might be sensing a pattern here.) However, there’s a pop sensibility captured that is something missing from many of the tracks released by the aforementioned project, Wild Nothing. Are Cathedral Bells even better than the real thing? In this case, perhaps. While various comparisons can be made, Cathedral Bells absolutely stands out by itself with their own signature sound.
Coming in at just over three minutes long, the listener has everything that you need from a pop song and nothing you don’t, which lends itself to enjoyable multiple replays. The structure and pacing of this song are impeccable; with the changes made from the intro, into the verses, moving to the chorus, through the bridge, and finally closing the track – the movements seamless without being predictable. The song just sticks with you and has lots of positive earworm potential.
If you are a fan of the Dream Pop microgenre originally called “Chill Wave”, this track will give you everything you want and then some. Fans of early Washed Out, Wild Nothing, Neon Indian, Daywave etc… please pay close attention to this project; you won’t be disappointed. While those bands have evolved into something different and are exploring new territory, we have other quality products like Cathedral Bells that are carrying on the legacy.