Listening to Finland's Delay Trees has always been a soft, lulling experience that shuffled you away from reality. Dreamy music tends to have that effect. It mesmerizes and hypnotizes, it makes rows of grey buildings appear cinematic from a bus window on a rainy day.
But reality catches up with you sometimes - a terrible experience which everyone should avoid to the best of their ability - and Delay Trees are staring it right in the face on their new album Let Go.
Don’t get me wrong, they still mesmerize and hypnotize, but musically as well as lyrically they have moved away from the escapism of dream pop and opted for a more face-to-face approach. On this album, their fourth, the band continues to dive into melancholy territory but in a more tangible way. After ten years together as a band it seems they’ve fused into the perfect amalgam of fuzzy guitars, ethereal ambience and straightforward pop. Each song is constructed with such precision and attention to detail, like perfect pieces carefully sewn together into some comforting musical equivalent of a security blanket.
In a sense all of these songs reflect the desolation of having the world cave in you in one way or another. The album is filled with clairvoyance and stoic resignation, the mood is brave and forward-looking, determined footsteps heading toward new beginnings.
But at the end of the record they turn inwards for a moment. All of a sudden everything’s hazy, everything’s wrapped in a daze. Silhouettes become blurry, shapes and sounds dissipate and colours bleed into each other. They disappear into the fog with the woozy and reverb-soaked “Hum” and “Hope”. Two songs that capture the essence of Delay Trees, harmony and dissaray at once. ‘Hum’ is especially eerie and dissolves into psychedelia, offering a moment of peace. Accompanied by weightless guitars that are completely blinding as they reach new heights.
The most striking thing on this record, as so clearly depicted on “It’s Not Who You Are”, is the sheer lack of sentimentality. Experiences and emotions such as loss, desolation and heartbreak are dealt with somewhat clinically – the way you’re able to once they lie miles and miles behind you. I hate to use the word “mature”, but there’s a certain relief in listening to a band that’s been able to create from a place of healing. On Let Go the past is viewed objectively and through new eyes. There’s little to no romanticizing of what once was. It’s like waking up from a bad dream; your body can still sense the places you’ve been, but for every second you move further away from them, until you’re completely present.
Let Go is out today on Soliti.
Watch the video for “It’s Not Who You Are” below.