Single Lash are an Austin-based shoegaze/dream-pop outfit that fills the void with cavernous, reverb-drenched guitar, eloquent vocals, cascading drums, and tasteful keys. Their sound sits comfortably with the likes of Lush, early Cure, Cocteau Twins, and Straitjacket Fits(in-particular their beautiful Melt.) Nicolas Nadeau, the front man, main songwriter, and guitarist for Single Lash started the band as a bedroom project while in the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence RI. In 2012-2013, musician Neil Lord joined Nadeau in Single Lash as a drummer. Since then the band has been ever-evolving as various musicians jump in, with Nadeau and Lord as the core members.
We now have Providence, the debut Holodeck Records release from Single Lash. It’s a hazy, epic dream of a debut album filled with melancholy, longing, and moments of both darkness and light. With the help of Justin Sweatt(bass and keys) and Max Parott(bass), Single Lash make a mark with a stunning debut.
If I was 15-years old and had come across Providence, I guarantee half of this album would’ve ended up on several lovelorn mixtapes handed out to girls I wanted to express “something” to. Providence is like an interpreter of mixed emotions and lovelorn feelings. My guess is Nicolas Nadeau, much like myself, was the kind of teen that struggled to find the right words to say to someone he admired greatly. Music was for me a means to express those emotions I wasn’t quite mature enough to comprehend in plain English. I let records and cassettes explain just how messed up I was inside. If Mr. Nadeau wasn’t the awkward kid that I was, he would’ve certainly helped me talk to that girl in geometry.
Providence leads off with “Come True”, a song that would’ve certainly gotten lots of air time on 120 Minutes back in waning days of the 80s. A driving rhythm section and reverb-heavy guitar hold up Nadeau’s tasteful and emotive vocals. This exquisite slice of modern dream pop is followed by the incredible “Frozen Honey”. A shuffling rhythm brings us into the song, complete with lilting guitar and a patchwork of dreamy, subtle synth in the background. The chorus explodes into a cacophony of noise that The Jesus and Mary Chain would’ve been proud of. Though Single Lash like to keep things more melodious, they’re not afraid to get loud and abrasive. “Frozen Honey” is a perfect example of that dichotomy.
Elsewhere, there are epic tracks like “Shredder Orpheus”, “Broken Tongue”, and album closer “Final Complaints” that vary from head-in-the-clouds existential drifting to My Bloody Valentine noise explosions, all the while allowing Nadeau’s croon to carry us thru these musical worlds.
Providence is a very personal record, but one that wants to share the experiences of navigating a sometimes complicated world with us. According to Holodeck Records, “Providence is Nadeau’s pursuit of genuine self-examination. There is an underlying confession throughout the album’s eight tracks, eloquently expressing the pain of regret with poetic and humble exposition.” When you listen to this record you those confessions and self-examination.
Nicolas Nadeau, Neil Lord, and all that had a part in creating the musical world of Providence have made an incredible record. A record with depth, beauty, and sometimes gnarly noise. If you grew up on shoegaze, dream pop, art rock, and noise bands Single Lash are a band worth seeking out. Providence is the perfect album for dying leaves and walks to nowhere in-particular.
Providence is available now via Holodeck Records. Buy the vinyl, cassette, or digital version here.
8.2 out of 10