Album Review: Viernes – Sinister Devices

Viernes – Sinister Devices
Kanine Records: 2010

Viernes is Sean Moore and Alberto Hernandez, playing under Kanine Records, home to Grizzly Bear and Surfer Blood. Their debut album, Sinister Devices, is an idiosyncratic dose of psyche pop, monotone lyrics and natural ambience that pairs well with anyone lost at sea, dreaming—or both. This duo seems to borrow from the natural sounds of their native region—Winter Park, Fla., where ethereal sounds grow, reach high tide and recede back into the blue abyss. And like some disorienting collection of noise, it’s not quite clear where all this sound originates. Each track is built like a skyscraper, where layer upon layer of synthetic and traditional sounds create a complete ambient structure. One might question how Viernes reassembles these layers during a live show. Is there a blueprint for what must be some super act of hyper assembly?

Drum machines aside, clues for Sinister Devices’ reassembly might lie somewhere within “Glacial Change of Pace”. This track provides a momentary audible glimpse into the band’s core voice and melody. Here, the listener can momentarily observe the voice and noise separately, like some foremen hovering over a blueprint. A subtle clean piano and guitar splice monotone vocals over a layer of ambient synthesizer. The track builds and other instruments, horns and bells are introduced intermittently. And so, perhaps as the vocals chant “respect is our currency,” one can assume that Viernes is on to something, a modest respect for attention to the small details that often get lost within
the plywood that is layered psyche pop. Here, on this track the listener can relish in transparency, come up for air, inhale the specifics and dive back down into the next track, “Honest Parade”, a drone of ambience that really makes it sound as though the vocals are sung somewhere from shore.

Viernes also composes equally peculiar, surreal instrumentals, such as “Swimmer’s Ear”, which opens to a broken record like sound, followed by a fuzzy muffled melody. The track relies heavily on synthetic components and nearly disassociates itself with previously organic sounding tracks. Again, vocals refrain from consistency and instead
act as a third or fourth instrument.

To really enjoy this album, it helps to take pleasure in both straight forward transparencies and cloudy instrumentals. Viernes tiptoes between these two sounds, without losing an overall consistent feel. From afar, this album invokes their cover art quite accurately, a collections of magenta hued clouds, something spacious but at times confined during sundown. The duo, two tightly knit minds, have collectively woven an audible plaid shirt, blending any discernible band roles into an overall continuous pattern, and who doesn’t like a nice plaid shirt?

★★★½☆
3.5 out of 5

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  1. Checking this album out now. Heard one song I really liked.

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