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Hidden By Ivy - Beyond (2017) - Review

Band: Hidden By Ivy
Album title: Beyond
Release date: 24 March 2017
Label: Alchera Visions

01. Different World
02. Sunset Song
03. Vision Days
04. Bird
05. Another Heart Laid Bare
06. Memory Line
07. Is It You
08. Faux Nostalgia
09. With Me Your Love Is Safe

The Polish duo who enthused me so much with their dreamy melancholic art pop/rock on their debut full-lenght, Acedia, released in 2015, is now back with a new album - Beyond. The two musicians, multinstrumentalist Andrzej Turaj, known better from the goth/indie rock band God's Own Medicine, and vocalist Rafał Tomaszczuk from now disbanded Agonised By Love, offer now another exceptional piece of art, nine songs that embrace with their deepth, melancholy and yet experimental character. The duo primarly gets influenced by bands and artists from classical period of the 4AD or Projekt Records labels, or names like This Mortal Coil, No-Man, Cocteau Twins, Dead Can Dance, David Sylvian or Steven Wilson come into mind, but as well there is unmistakeable presence of later era Pink Floyd, also Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds and it's nice to hear how the two bring forth into the scheme some vintage electronics that could partially remind to Tangerine Dream or OMD in certain segments.

To be truthful, Hidden By Ivy on this new album follows similar path like on their debut, but yet they managed somehow to make their sound a bit broaden. Ok, already on their previous album the two showed how perfectly they can make a highly emotional and coherent blend of several styles, from post-rock, dark wave, art pop, gothic rock, shoegaze, cold wave, ambient, jazz, dream-pop, folk and yet something more. Now the thing became maybe a bit more energetic while keeping the same elements, adding some more dynamic and versatility. Nevertheless, the new album, Beyond, is a fantastic emotional sonic journey that offers a lot. The world of Beyond is a world full of nostalgia, deep sensations, it's a world of visions and impressions, unnamed feelings, sounds that reflect longing for our old self. Lyrics talk about the search for the world that is behind the wall, behind a shut door, at the end of the road that we used to travel with our eyes closed when we were children and now we have completely forgotten.

Already the rather psychedelic alternative/indie/rock oriented opener, "Different World", shows that the things are set very high, not only compositional wise, but as well productional. The sound is fantastic, atmosphere is so very delicate, quite dark, I love the use of tender piano, floydian guitars and addition of female vocals performed by guest Baśnia Lipińska, but yet this is just the beginning. The things get pretty dramatic and absolutely emotionally dense in the songs like "Sunset Song", where the band sounds harder and more intense than ever before, thanks to use of kind of electro-industrial elements that blends perfectly with warm dreamy soundscape thus it deepens the whole thing, but still the sound is so very soothing, catchy, it certainly brings shivers down the spine. Then "Vision Days", another sonic gem with such a melancholic refrain that could bring tears into the eyes, the similar feeling is experienced in the absolutely captivating "Another Heart Laid Bare". Several acoustic parts, like for example in the rather calm neofolkish "Bird" or in the beginning of "Memory Line", also does the job and brings a lot of versatility into the whole sonic pallete of Hidden By Ivy.

I'm impressed by how much the vocals have improved since their predecessor, there's much more dynamics, even more soul and passion present, so the sound got thicker, the ambiance is even more lush and sometimes almost solemn. There are many different sounds and instruments used to create this unique soundscape. I was impressed by the building up in ambiance "Is It You", it so nicely enhances before the song almost explodes in mesmerizing powerful groovy sensational post-rock ending. Reverberate bass lines in "Faux Nostalgia" make the listeners heart beat faster and soul crying for more, before Andrzej and Rafał close this chapter with highly emotive acoustic ballad with some classical strings and orchestrations in "With Me Your Love Is Safe".

Hidden By Ivy did a fantastic job on Beyond, they offer a sombre work of art that is highly emotional, passionate and melancholic. In here nostalgic dream-pop landscapes meet the new wave nervousness in a splendid way. The two not only reached the heights of their debut album, they made everything even more appealing for those who want their music to be so very sensitive yet elaborate in every single detail. The flow of the songs is mesmerizing, it simply grabs you from head to toe, and believe me that this is the "thing" that the scene has never seen or just missed for a long time.

Review written by: T.V.
Rating: 9,5/10