ALBUM OF THE DAY
SRSQ, “Ever Crashing”
By Jude Noel · August 16, 2022 Merch for this release:
Vinyl LP, Compact Disc (CD)

If you listened to Kennedy Ashlyn’s debut album as SRSQ, you probably have a good idea of what to expect from its successor. The Texan solo artist continues to draw influence from 4AD’s first wave of baroque goth-pop bands on Ever Crashing, but does so with even greater gusto, filling in the cavernous passages of her earlier work with searing lead guitar and opulent string arrangements. At a time when short, unassuming runtimes are an industry standard, Ashlyn’s latest record unabashedly takes up space, pushing all but one of its tracks well past five minutes to just barely eclipse an hour. There’s not a moment wasted, however. Like The Cure’s Disintegration or Slowdive’s Pygmalion, Ever Crashing hypnotizes the listener with deceptively simple melodies, swirling round and round until time itself becomes imperceptible.

Opener “It Always Rains” calls back to the amorphous orchestration of This Mortal Coil’s discography—somber, droning, and tinged with liturgical gravitas. This baroque streak runs all the way through Ever Crashing, its swooning choruses buttressed by synth pads and operatic double-tracked vocals. Standout “Dead Loss” is pure decadence, locking into its explosive hook for the better part of six minutes and rarely veering off course. Ashlyn’s crescendos are so immersive that a repeating 16-bar loop is sometimes all it takes to elicit chills. “Someday I Will Bask In The Sun” concludes the album with a welcome curveball, dialing her aural time machine forward a decade. An Amen break sample provides a skittering backdrop for layer upon layer of snarling guitar riffs, recalling the subtle drum and bass influences that crept into My Bloody Valentine’s work post-Isn’t Anything. And, like MBV’s Kevin Shields, Ashlyn spares no space in the mixes on these new songs, stuffing each cut with as many as 100 separate tracks. Ever Crashing is immense at all times.

The intense attention to detail and crunchier array of textures on Ever Crashing reveal the continuing influence of Ashlyn’s previous duo, Them Are Us Too, on her current output. While her last solo record, tastefully minimalist in its own right, ached for the shimmering guitar of her late bandmate Cash Askew, the new LP feels overwhelmingly whole. It’s still tinged with pain, but glimmers of hope peek through the cracks.

“Reeling in and out of despair,” she sings on “Elan Vital,” “I am saved by song.”

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