Listening to IE’s new record Pome is a lot like stepping into a dream. The five-piece from Minneapolis dabble in space-y, hallucinogenic songs that are as much soundtracks to existential drifts as they are fever dream walks on the moon. There’s lots of familiar vibes, but nothing you can quite put your finger on as you slip in and out of consciousness with this album. Bits of ambient drone, noise rock, buzzing electronic, and waves of experimental music come from all angles. Everything from Terry Riley, Massive Attack, and even Popol Vuh permeate IE’s musical world, which makes Pome an immense listening experience.
20 years ago if you had said you were in a drone band you may have just gotten a weird look and shown the door. The 80s and 90s pretty much made it a violation of man’s law to stop and make time to look into yourself. The decade of shiny things led to the decade of indifference. Nobody had time to crack open their skull and try and tidy up what was inside. Thankfully there has been a resurgence and revitalization of ambient and drone bands in the last several years. Bands that take that musical realm seriously. Heady trips into the subconscious to find some meaning in it all. For me, that’s an absolute must in the situation we live in. Bands like Landing, Billow Observatory, and of course IE, are making ambient and drone cool again(or for the first time? Or just cooler.)
Apparently the beginnings of Pome can be linked to a hot tub. Drummer Meredith Gill was gifted a hot tub by her eccentric handyman. An 8-person hot tub was then installed in Gill’s garage and she would soak in the hot, healing waters after band practice. You can almost feel the hot and consuming waters envelope you as you listen to album opener “Amulet”. A droning, hypnotic track that cascades like clouds with looping synth and simple percussion. Elements of Terry Riley permeate the track as Crystal Myslajek’s vocals appear from the ether. “An Empty Vessel Makes Much Noise” has a Krautrock vibe to it. More Popol Vuh than Neu!. The rhythm, quiet and subtle, leaves space for you to get lost in.
Elsewhere, the middle point of “Moon Shot” and “Idol Horizon” seem to have more pop elements than what came before. Not so much radio fodder, but there’s more emphasis on groove and melody with noise and drone floating just below the surface. “Nebula” closes the album on a free-floating space jam. Elements of Tangerine Dream step in and out of the mix on this excellent track. The Berlin School vibe is strong here.
Pome is one hell of a debut. Minneapolis can get pretty arctic in the winter months, and IE convey a certain isolation in their sparse, galactic jams. January in Minneapolis might as well be January on the moon. We need a soundtrack for those quiet, cold, and desolate moments. Pome is that soundtrack.
Grab a copy of Pome here.
7.8 out of 10