Sometimes music translates into a colorful collage of visuals in my head. The most recent artist to have this effect on me is Bellingham, Washington-based Grant Eadie, better known as Manatee Commune. February 26 saw the release of his latest work, the six-track Thistle EP, a collection of audial art pieces that will transport you to other worlds much dreamier and more emotional than this one. If you enjoy any artists like Ratatat, Gold Panda, The Postal Service, Owl City or even the soundtrack of Super Mario Galaxy, listen on.
The opening track “Brick Orange” sounds of swirling lavender hues, spring fields, and an emotion close to nostalgic. Opening with somber strings, the track slides effortlessly into electronic downbeat dream pop. Bright dashes of sound create catchy melodies that will remain circling around your head long after the song ends.
“Blueberry” is as sweet a song as the fruit it was named for. Complete with jazzy acoustic guitar, the occasional giggle and celebratory “heck yes!” from anonymous voices, and gentle wind chimes, this song will transport you to warm, tropical places.
“Clay,” this EP’s lead single, which features vocal contributions from Marina Price, combines the previous evocative style with the lush vocals of Price. A balance is struck with dreamy backing harmonies blurring into the electro instrumental.
The short “Interlude” track is fifty seconds of sun rays reflecting off the surface of the ocean, which flows naturally into the next track “Contain You,” featuring guest vocals from Maiah Manser, who recently had a pretty notable feature on the latest IG88 record. A slow moving backdrop blends with Manser’s rich vocals amazingly well.
The closing track “Simple Lessons” is a complex instrumental that ends the EP with as much strength as it started. A soundscape of textures and riffs that make you realize how vast the world of sound truly is.
I’ve had the EP on replay since my first listen through and it will no doubt be my soundtrack as winter turns to spring. The next time you need an escape, I recommend you make yourself a cup of jasmine green tea, settle down, and tune out to the eloquently-structured dream pop pieces of Manatee Commune.
(The Thistle EP was released through boutique label Bastard Jazz Recordings, and is available to purchase via Manatee Commune’s Bandcamp page. The single “Clay” is also available on 7″ vinyl via the same page. Stream the single via SoundCloud below.)