High Tides - Paradise Daze - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

High Tides - Paradise Daze

by Joseph Majsterski Rating:9 Release Date:2019-03-08
High Tides - Paradise Daze
High Tides - Paradise Daze

High Tides released a pleasant self-titled debut a few years ago, and now they're back with Paradise Daze. Although their first set was good, they've absolutely blown it out of the water with their sophomore release, which is positively sublime. Here, they're falling into the same Boards-of-Canada-on-Quaaludes fuzziness again, but they've perfected the formula. While still very much a sort of beach bum ambient, the music has moved a bit out of the water and into space, to tremendous effect.

The opener, 'Washed Ashore', ironically demonstrates the movement away from the beach and into a more abstract place. Giant, fuzzy pads drift past as the barest hints of some deeply submerged melody peek through here and there. But the follow-up, 'Swaying Palms', is where things really get rolling, and it's simply a masterpiece. Once again, the fritzed out vocals remind me of Bent's 'Cylons in Love'. But outside of that, it's just layers of comforting electronics: a stable, predictable bassline, diaphanous pads, sweet electro melodies, and tinkling accents. 'Silver Strand Lulls' is almost the same song in terms of structure and components, but has all the pieces delightfully scrambled into a new configuration. And it gives a stronger sense of sinking into bliss. 'Lines on the Horizon', late in the album, is the third track that uses the same template, but with more vocals and percussion more skittery than ever.

Some of the tracks do throw back to their first set of beachy goodness, such as 'Summer Reflections', which has a classic sample of a stereotypical surfer dude going on and on about some amazing waves he caught. 'Catch the Wav' reminds me of a more stoned, less trippy Shpongle track, like losing your balance in slow motion, and the reverberations add a supremely watery texture to everything. 'Tidal Movement' is just as described, a slow ebb and flow like ocean waves on a grand scale. If cruise ships toured the rings of Saturn, this is the music they'd play.

The title track comes in hot near the set's conclusion, and again it has all the perfect sunset smoothness the band seems to revel in. A very gentle intro underpinned by ocean waves and melted melodies leads into alternating ambient and IDM sections, each seducing the ear in its own way, one a cottony fluff, the other like electro bubble gum. Closing track 'Azue Drift' goes super ambient again, but has a glittering freshness that makes it superior to the opener, and a strong finish.

There are essentially no bad tracks to be found herein, and I'm able to listen to the entire set over and over without getting tired of it. It's that damn good. It falls into a sweet spot between aimless nothingness and too-clever-for-its-own-good noodling. Everything just works. It's always delightful when a band can top itself so thoroughly on its second album, and I eagerly look forward to High Tides' next work.

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