Rejoice, potential lovers of proper Gothic psychedelic shoegaze lounge metal
dB rating: 8/10
Release Date: July 22nd, 2016
Label: The Mylene Sheath
Metal needs Irene Barber more than Irene Barber needs metal. In a world where women are too often expected to satisfy male expectations of what women in metal are supposed to be—scary, witchy, slutty, like a dude with three holes, all of the above, etc.—the Dust Moth vocalist and keyboardist blithely (albeit darkly) ignores standard-issue tropes on the Seattle underground supergroup’s debut full-length, instead pursuing a highly personal vision of the undiluted sublime.
Often as not, the search takes her between the cracks of everyday reality into sonic/lyrical realms previously broached (but never fully conquered) by the likes of Denali’s Maura Davis and Elysian Fields’ Jennifer Charles. Opener “Space Legs” captures Barber, guitarist Ryan Frederiksen (These Arms Are Snakes, Narrows), bassist Steve Becker (Giza) and drummer Justin Rodda (Giza) on the preferred turf of psychically well-endowed seekers for untold millennia. “Out in the desert,” Barber coos, her voice like liquid moonlight, “A quest to find you/All the roads go for miles/To the phantasms.” As the band proceeds from labyrinthine void to “Essex’”s helicopter-assisted vanishing point, restraint proves their strongest asset: while Scale offers heavy moments aplenty, dynamics reign supreme. Also, Barber controls a ridiculously broad spectrum of expression while rarely raising her voice, and Frederiksen deploys enough variety to populate a three-day festival. Recordist and former Dust Moth member Matt Bayles’ nuanced mix helps ensure that the richly scented air of mystery and obsession Scale exudes from the beginning lingers long after the album is over.
— Rod Smit
This review taken from the August 2016 issue.