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Now Hear This: Spirit Guides - Haunted Summer

Rating: ****1/2

Los Angeles natives Bridgette Moody and John Seasons make up the Los Angeles band, Haunted Summer. They're also married. I'm a big fan of that. The couple that makes art together stays together right?
Aside from some things I've read about the duo, I came into this review fairly unaware of what their music sounded like. I read that they had been friends for awhile and ended up together after the two performed an Animal Collective cover together back in 2012. They got hitched in 2013. Romantic stuff.
But how are the tunes, man? How the fuck are the tunes??? We are about to get into that. Like....right now.
Watch the video for "Every Step" below:
The first track is called Killing Me and it's a real treat. Super dreamy. Like Mazzy Star but modern. When the Sun's Out is next and it's equally gorgeous. I could hear this one on Beck's "Sea Change" pretty easily. Moody's vocals really make this one shine. There's a Karen Carpenter appeal to it. She's singing about the sun being out, but you wouldn't guess it. Heartbreakingly beautiful. Sour Grapes is track 3 and it's upbeat in comparison to the first couple of tracks. Strong melody? Check. Gorgeous vocals? Check. I'm pretty in love with this album so far.
The next track is the album's first single, Every Step. It's got a real college radio appeal to it. More poppy than the prior tracks, which is a cool little change of pace. Love it. Golden is track 5 and we are back to the slower pace that the album is themed around. It's good, but it's the first track on the album that I don't absolutely love. That's ok. One Day starts the second half of the album and it's really good. Lyrically it sounds like pages ripped from the diary of a person who's loved and lost, but is hopeful of another shot. Track 7 is Pool of Tears and it starts with a cool synth intro that sounds quite cinematic. Downtempo and dreamy again. Perfect headphone song. "Just be mysterious...." I love that. The Woods is next. Beautifully arranged and gorgeously sung. This one is very reminiscent of Mazzy Star. The highlight of the second half for me. So far that is. The penultimate track on the album is Haircut. It's a strange and delightful song that sounds almost like a 50's throwback. Really gorgeous and weird. The record's title track, Spirit Guides is last, and it's epic. Perfectly titled as it's 8 minutes that takes you to another dimension entirely. It even has a jam band element as it fades away into the ether.
This gets a really strong recommendation from me. If you like shoegaze-y dream pop, this might be your favorite record this year. Seriously, grab this. It's nearly perfect.

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