Cremation Lily - Dreams Drenched in Static

11 May 2022 - Thorsten

Ambient, Indie, Noise | The Flenser | Release date: 15 Apr 2022 | Favorite song: I Need To Stop Blaming Myself

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A few years ago, Japanese noise legend Merzbow shall have said “If by noise you mean uncomfortable sound, then pop music is noise to me.” If we take this into consideration, then it would be interesting to hear what the maestro thinks about Cremation Lily, because their songs are based on pop melodies (yes!) and yet, they are …drenched in static so that the melodies are really difficult to make out among all the noise. However, isn’t that also what makes their record so interesting?

The pop elements are very often supported by a very “indie-ish” understanding of how the piano can be used as a rhythm elements, that shows the very beginning of the album with the opener ”Barely Remembered”, where the piano is more or less the only non-spatial element but rather the light within the fog. A wonderful start to a rather short album (only roughly 28 minutes) and one that reminds me a bit of the way Charlie Barnes or Mike Vennart used the piano.

When the second track, the title track of the record, breaks from its chains after a few seconds the beauty is literally drenched in white noise, something that aforementioned Merzbow would be mighty proud of. However, beneath the pumping industrial beat and the noise elements going from left to right, there are some melodic things to see, most important the dream-like longing vocals. The track explains why Cremation Lily is such a perfect fit for The Flenser. This band can do for industrial what Have A Nice Life did for black metal. Take it to another level and redefine it.

Something that is really nice about the whole record is the idea of all ten tracks basically being nothing more than chapters within one long suite as everything flows into each other. There are the upbeat elements – very often some very well-hidden industrial or abstract hiphop beats (for example underneath ”Wavering Blood”). We find the ethereal synths in basically every track and sometimes we even find some synth spots that would make EDM bands like Wolfsheim or Depeche Mode proud – compare the nice touches in ”I’m Done (Indefinite Light)”. And then there are the samples which make clear, that there is also an idea of using the songs as part of a soundtrack to an unfinished movie.

Dreams Drenched in Static is, for sure, one of these records which will soon be categorized as “a grower”, because that’s what it is. Every spin gives you the chance to discover something new, something that “wasn’t there before”. Nevertheless, the record also has a veritable hit: ”I Need To Stop Blaming Myself”. A track that combines all of the other qualities mentioned above and spins a web around the listener that one will find hard to come out. Here the vocals sound a bit like the calmer passages of metalcore songs and then they take it to a whole other level with the call-and-response-like vocal style, which reminds me a bit of a band like Taking Back Sunday with Adam carrying the song with his clean vocals.

This record is a maze which you will not try to escape, because it is way too beautiful to feel such an urge. Unsure, what Merzbow would say about Cremation Lily and this record in particular – for me it is one of the best examples of how to combine ambient white noise and pop affinities. And now excuse me, but I have to listen to this version of pop and noise because it doesn’t make me feel uneasy but welcome.