Amid the flood of nu-gaze, post-rock, and pseudo-psych that is currently running rampant about the virtual airwaves and buzz lines of the internet, Atlanta’s Mood Rings has risen through the din of echoing guitars and soaking reverb to find itself faced with the double-edged specter of a highly anticipated debut LP release. With VPI Harmony, Mood Rings has attempted to expand upon the charming jangle-psych of its 2011 EP, Sweater Weather Forever, and while much of the content found on VPI Harmony touts a band that has grown a great deal since 2011, the album as a whole falls slightly short of expectations.
On VPI Harmony, Mood Rings occupies a world where everything touched obtains a sparkling and bright sheen. Guitars twinkle, ebb, and flow through seas of delay. The drums are a gentle servant to the sexiness of the grooves. Vocals rarely exit the realm of a disembodied whisper that coalesces in and out of the wash. The production of the album places all of the songs in a space that might be akin to a sonic rendering of the white throne room from Neverending Story, or perhaps a neon pastel Miami Vice sex scene that plays in perpetuity.
While the unique production, syrupy grooves, and a smattering of standout tracks keep VPI Harmony afloat, the whispered vocals and spacey guitars tend to grow cloying by the end of the album — particularly in the absence of dynamic tracks or a firm musical statement. However, while it’s difficult to be entirely sold on VPI Harmony as a long-player, songs like “Promise Me Eternity”, with its upbeat entrance that fades into a lazy, Beach Boys-on-acid (more acid?), candy-coated dirge, and the spaced and spooked Britpop of “Exorcised Painting” make the cost of admission negligible here. That said, the land of spacey jams isn’t always one of active listening, but in terms of soundtracking with a vibe, VPI Harmony is a winner. As a result, at least a few of these tracks should be beaten mercilessly into the ground over the next few months at hip haunts everywhere.
Essential Tracks: “Promise Me Eternity”, “Exorcised Painting”, and “Hollow Dye”