Vanishing Twin is embarking on an exciting new creative chapter with their latest album, Afternoon X. This release marks their first album as a trio, showcasing the evolution of their sound. Prepare to be pleasantly surprised! This new collection from the trio is unlike anything you’ve heard from them before. While some might expect comparisons to Stereolab or Alain Goraguer to roll off the tongue, think again quickly. On their fourth album, the trio have confidently carved out their unique musical lane, showcasing a distinct sound.
Afternoon X is an eclectic and experimental blend of sounds and styles and is all their own. The trio, now consisting of singer and multi-instrumentalist Cathy Lucas, drummer Valentina Magaletti and bassist Susumu Mukai, pack a lot of ideas throughout the records 37-minute time span, drawing inspiration from minimalism, kosmische, post-punk, psychedelic and dream pop.
The album opens with the hypnotic and mellow “Melty 02”, its repetitive synth motifs and Lucas’ airy vocals lulling the listener into a trance-like state. Things get more lively with “Afternoon X”, its driving bassline and almost tribal percussion giving way to sparkling psychedelic guitar lines. “Brain Weather” takes things in a more avant-garde direction with its off-kilter rhythms and otherworldly vocals.
The album’s epic centrepiece is “The Down Below”, a sprawling, 8-minute track showcasing Vanishing Twin’s skill at patiently building up a moody, atmospheric soundscape. Lucas’ detached and poetic vocals float over slowly unfolding layers of synths, deep bass grooves, hypnotic drums and classical guitar. “Marbles” and “Lotus Eater” explore similar territory, meandering through cosmic soundscapes and trippy atmospherics.
The album comes back down to earth for its final two tracks. The playful ‘Lazy Garden’ features cheerful flute melodies and a tropical lounge vibe. The closing track, ‘Subito’, is a lovely, understated coda with minimal instrumentation and Lucas’ tender vocals.
With Afternoon X, Vanishing Twin has crafted a transportive listening experience, an unclassifiable amalgam of vintage and futuristic sounds. The album rewards repeated listens as more details and nuances emerge from its multi-layered sonic textures. It also establishes the trio as one of the most intriguing experimental pop acts.