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Hidden By Ivy - Acedia (2015) - Review

Band: Hidden By Ivy
Album title: Acedia
Release date: 4 September 2015
Label: Alchera Visions

01. Cold Summer Day
02. Shame
03. Forget Me Not
04. To Abandon
05. Pale Shade
06. Everything Was
07. Remembrance
08. Don't Go
09. Nie Znam Więcej
10. My Sad Eyes

The Polish duo Hidden By Ivy came out of nothing and surprised a lot every consumer of melancholic art pop/rock melodies this January with their debut EP named To Abandon. Although the music was hard to categorize, it settled deep into the hearts of all of us, melancholic music addicts, who actually listened to it and found some comfort within those gentle soul caressing melodies. Hidden By Ivy was formed in 2014 by multinstrumentalist Andrzej Turaj, known better from the extraordinary goth/indie rock band God's Own Medicine, and vocalist Rafał Tomaszczuk from Agonised By Love. Now the two are out with their debut full lenght, which is nothing but an intimate journey served with ten tracks full of variety and mood settings.

Like said before, the musical output of Hidden By Ivy is hard to put in brackets, but what those two artists do is certainly giving some shivers down the spine with their incredible sense to compose refined and highly emotive music. There are found many different elements, from post-rock basis, to incredible subtle layers of dark wave, art pop, gothic elements, shoegaze, even cold wave, ambient, some jazz, a bit of folk and yet much more, everything put together into such an exquisite melancholic flow of refreshing meditative sounds. Also the variety of used instruments, from gentle acoustic guitars, atmospheric keys, piano, saxophone, cello, nice percussions and other typical rock ones. The one who'll take this musical journey together with Hidden By Ivy will find elements that reminds to Dead Can Dance from Into The Labyrinth, later era Pink Floyd, or even to This Mortal Coil and Cocteau Twins on some occasions, but you can't escape a certain most emotional Diary Of Dreams and Wolfsheim touch on some songs, like it was the case on a couple of segments in Turaj's God's Own Medicine.

The album opens up with highly emotional "Cold Summer Day", which was already present on their debut EP, and proceeds with a bit more upbeat rhythms on "Shame", with throbing bass lines and jazzy/blues influenced guitars, which later on finds brother in style on "Remembrance". The listener will be without any doubt immediately attracted by soothing and emotive vocals of Tomaszczuk, here and there maybe a bit too linear, but still enough dynamic and where most needed nicely enriched with some backing ones by Turaj and other guests on some tracks. Just listen how melancholic and atmospheric is gentle ballad "Forget Me Not", yet full of variety and surprisingly dynamic, like a perfect mix between Dead Can Dance and Pink Floyd. Similar patterns, but a bit more vivacious, are then used on "Pale Shade", another piece taken from their To Abandon EP, and on the extremely melancholic gem, a bit minimalistic, but yet dense "Don't Go", with addition of children vocals by Sandra and Weronika. Hidden By Ivy shows their dark side on the magnificient rather groovy "To Abandon", with a nice blend of post-rock, dark wave, goth rock and some shoegaze. How great and uplifting are those sparkly guitar riffs in there, but the best is yet to come with the amazing and most diverse track up here "Everything Was". What a great addictive ambiance made up with several instruments, even some electronics, amazing vocal layers, with seductive female vocals of guest Inga Habiba and kind of an oriental vibe spread all over just to form a soothing psychedelic feeling. Every single element mentioned before is implemented here with such a refined sense for composition. "Nie Znam Więcej", the only one with lyrics in Polish seems a bit of out line here, even though it's still a nice dark piece with interesting percussions, gloomy piano touches and a distorted guitar riff in the background that brings shivers once the ambiance softly builds up. Acedia closes up with the dark, almost epic "My Sad Eyes", opening up with spoken female voice by Małgorzata Masłowiecka and then serving with a marvelous almost ethereal soundscape, made heavier with gently thumping drum beats, mixed up with kind of "floyd-can-dance" glow.

Acedia is a blistering attack for your senses. It has so much emotion, meditative soundscapes, melancholic catchy melodies and heartrending vocal arrangements that is hard not to be overwhelmed by it. Ok, you must be in that special mood without any distraction from the outside world to fully consume this Hidden By Ivy's masterpiece. Those constant variations in sound and intriguing art pop/rock compositional elements used all over are certainly making this album one of a kind. There's that vintage influence present, but the album sounds still very modern and fresh, also because of a genious production and final mix. Every single song, like as well the album as a whole has that hard to obtain pathos which captivates the listener from the start till the end and makes the one wanting to return for more.

Review written by: T.V.
Rating: 9/10