By NATHAN SOLIS
Early on, Dunes showcased an appreciation for space, allowing vocals to bloom while guitars and drums sent out ripples in a steady pace throughout. Caught up in the harmonies was a certain haze, like an impressionist painting, fraying the overlap between singer Stephanie Chan’s vocals and the group’s instruments.
Dunes newest single, Circles, offers a hint of that same spacey overtone, lazy guitar holding up the walls. But the introduction soon picks up with Kate Hall’s drum work filling in the gaps and David Reichardt’s bass transitioning the song into something a bit more tightly knit. Chan’s voice still has that dreamy allure, but it’s also calling out from the ceiling in this song about people outlining their city with chalk. Suddenly it makes sense that Chan’s voice is now sharply defined.
Characters begin to crawl along the walls and the paradigm shift is unpackaged by bass, drums and Mark Greshowak’s baritone guitar. The string work is its own passing comet illuminating Dune’s scene, all of it upside down or right side up like an Escher illustration. Their last album, Noctiluca, was released in 2012, so it’s a great feeling to see them back at work.
Dunes’ minimalist approach has not completely dissolved. It’s safe to say that with experimental producer David Scott Stone in the mix on the new album, new shapes are taking form and maybe this means dream pop will meet art punk in a mixed media sort of way.
Nathan Solis is a Highland Park resident who writes about and photographs the L.A. music scene. You can find more of Solis’ stories, reviews and photos at Avenue Meander.