[Album Review] Cathedral Bloom - Looking Glass/Mask
4.5Rating
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Release Date: August 28th, 2017
Label: Independent
Cathedral Bloom are the trio of Toni Hiatt (vocals), Harold Hejazi/Magicus Carpetus (vocals), and producer Dan Godlovitch, and they blend their individual talents into something special and unique.

Godlovitch’s beats and sounds are hardly stock. Contemporary urban yes, but he has ideas of his own that don’t follow the flavour-of-the-week recipes. “Enraptured” with its heavy low-end owes more to drum’n’bass with an added air of mystery, but then “Queen of Wands” sounds more like electropop while on acid.

The two lyricist/vocalists complement each other perfectly. Hejazi, in a sense, forms the trio’s spiritual centre, even though he is rarely the centre of attention. His langourous style of rapping is engaging and “current-sounding”, immediately drawing you in. But, if Hejazi provides the band’s “spirit” then it is Hiatt who provides its heart, along with grace and melody. Her singing voice is versatile, going from a soft hush to a more sweet mid-range and then to a more ethereal higher plane (usually used as harmony). The way she easily glides from her non-nonsense street speaking voice to her lovely singing vocals is quite marvelous.

Of course, what is really important is how these three elements sonically come together. In this case, the whole is indeed greater than the sum of its parts as Cathedral Bloom come together to create a fresh and bold sound — one that is solidly grounded in today but at the same time having ethereal beauty. One need only look to the title track to see how this synergy works. Set to a dangerous beat, Hiatt first comes in with her voice in finest trip-hop form (with wonderful jazz/blues resonances) but then impresses even further with some very clever self-harmonies. Midway through the music switches tone, becoming lighter with a brisker, bouncier rhythm. There’s some hip-hop buried in there and Hiatt uses it in one of her effortless switches as she goes from songstress to spoken word in the blink of an eye.

When the song is (sadly) over you may ask yourself, was that ‘90s trip-hop? Or was it contemporary hip-hop? It’s both, but of course it’s actually neither. This is Cathedral Bloom’s universe and this is their own sound.