Mood Rings, a five-piece out of Atlanta, concocts airy, dreamy, wholly imaginary landscapes out reverbed guitar, synthesizer and blur-edged vocals. Though sometimes tagged with the “shoegazer” label, the band lands at the very softest end of that spectrum, nearer Slowdive than Ride and far distant from the gauze-overlaid roar of My Bloody Valentine. But really, Mood Rings sounds more like last year’s slacker pop (Real Estate, Wild Nothing) or chillwave (Washed Out) than anything historical. These are whispery, wispy bits of romantic melancholia, the fey vulnerability of the vocals backed by surging crescendos of guitar and synthesizer.
Mood Rings songs are translucent, pastel washes of sound that swath the listener in misty wistfulness. They reach for grandeur once or twice, most notably in “Pathos & Lagrimas,” the best song on the disc, with its Cure-like epic moodiness. Elsewhere, their indefinite prettiness sometimes fades to wallpaper. It needs a sharp edge or two – like the guitar slashes of “Minor Slaloms” – to stop it from disappearing like morning fog. “Exorcised Painting” takes the aggressive guitars further into the foreground, a startling foray into rock halfway through the album. But mostly, the record oscillates between dream and electro-pop. The twitchy beat of “The Line”, another standout, grounds the track just enough to keep its sweeping, swooning vocal line from drifting off into space.
VPI Harmony is quite a pleasant album, though not exactly arresting. It’s the kind of record that slips by while you’re not paying attention, leaving a hazy aura of good feeling, though you can’t quite remember any of the songs.
DOWNLOAD: “Pathos & Lagrimas”, “The Line”