I believe this is the first review of any Hand Drawn Dracula release on our pages. It’s been a while since I started following the activities of this Canadian record label, and I was surprised by the sheer amount of quality releases published by them. It’s one of those prolific record labels without weak releases in its catalog. You should check them out if you’re into indie, indie pop, dream pop, avant-pop, shoegaze, and other similar music genres. In This Year: Hierophant by Praises is their recent release you should especially check out if you’re into any subgenre of pop music. Praises is a solo project of Jesse Crowe, known for being one-half of a widely known dream pop/shoegaze duo Beliefs. Besides In This Year: Hierophant, Praises released several EPs, singles, and In This Year: Ten Of Swords LP.
In This Year: Hierophant carries nine songs, suitable for anyone looking out for hypnotic and soothing music. The entire material comes as a soundtrack for those moments when you need some calmy and relaxing music the most. Each track possesses many qualities that will provide a cathartic listening experience to even the pickiest listeners, but Praises has even more tricks in pockets. Besides the beforementioned calmness, a delicate tension motivates you to focus and explore even deeper beneath the layers of pleasant harmonies, melodies, drones, ambiances, low-end tones, and beats. That suspense highlights the balance between dreamy soundscapes on one side and more avant-garde aesthetics on the other.
I adore how the keys and ambiances work to the advantage of Crowe’s vocal abilities. Somehow the music enhances the vocal performance, so every singing maneuver sounds more dominant, hypnotic, soulful, and cathartic. As the artist said, this record dances like a storybook, and I couldn’t agree more. This comprehensive collection of dreamy pop songs carries messages about the good and bad things surrounding us, and Crowe possesses the ability to criticize society through wise storytelling. Like the music, Praises’ lyric side is forcing you to think about all the themes covered through these songs.
If these facts listed above aren’t enough for you to pick this album, wait until you hear how the Praises blended the reverby dream pop with the abrasiveness of shoegaze or how the eeriness of avant-pop works alongside the melodic properties of the soul. And all that while simultaneously adding psychedelic ambiances/drones and catchiness of indie music. It’s an incredible full-length worth checking out. In This Year: Hierophant comes on ultra-clear vinyl limited to 300 copies. Head over to Hand Drawn Dracula store for more information about ordering.