[Album Review] Late Spring- Invisible
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Release Date: May 6, 2016
Label: Independent

At the heart of Late Spring lies a killer combination – the imaginative narrative of vocalist KC Wei and her wildly distorted guitar, and the more melodic playing of Nik Gauer. That is not to say that their songs are formulaic, although there are recurring patterns and structures. It is more a case that with each Late Spring song these two elements will likely play dominant roles. But as to how the elements will combine to create a cohesive whole, that is unpredictable.

The album opens with an electric howl before things settle into a noise pop groove. Wei sings deadpan, as if she’s filled with 21st century ennui. The guitars answer back, harshly, insolently. But that is just the calm before the storm. After a major drum roll, “Jelly” kicks the energy up a notch and we enter more punkish waters. At the chorus both the guitars and Wei voice jump up into a higher register, giving the song a more shrill and insistent edge. Although it’s a terrific one-two punch to start the album, Wei/Gauer still have way more creative tricks up their sleeves.

Wei’s vocal skills are arguably on best display in “Loser”. During the verse (if you can call it that) her voice quavers with intrigue, but she breaks into a riot grrrl yelp when the power chorus hits. She has similar hardcore tendencies on such tracks as “Tough” and yet she manages to sound sweet and vulnerable on the crooner “Sweet Thing”. Similarly, Gauer can lighten things up with ‘80s style jangly guitars on songs like “Drink You”. It’s a necessary balance because Wei’s guitar tends is to drive through the melody like a power tool.

Admittedly, Late Spring owes debts to some of the great sounds of yesteryear — ‘60s garage rock, ‘80s alternative and ‘90s shoegaze, to name just a few. But as you listen to the closing number “Predator” with its dreampop vocals, swooping warped guitars and grinding rhythm you can’t help but think that this arrangement of sounds is something totally new. Something totally Late Spring.