By Eli Shively, General Manager
[Joy Void; 2016]
Key Tracks: “drowning here with all my friends,” “flightless”
warmth equation, the latest bedroom pop opus from Infinity Crush (a.k.a. Julia Brown’s Caroline White), can be labeled as “dreamy” to the extent that it basically feels like the sonic equivalent of being asleep. This won’t come as a surprise to anyone who’s followed White’s past musical endeavors, but first time listeners are likely to be surprised by how uniquely she embodies the lo-fi genre with everything she sets out to create. The high points on the record are simply spellbinding.
“flightless” is possibly the best example; White’s lyrics are the star of the show, just as plain as they are revealing. “You make me feel / Like Hell is a place that’s real,” she softly croons, her voice coating the meandering acoustic guitar with a smoothly and evenly. This is exactly what she consistently does best throughout the record, wielding the musicality of her voice just so, making everything fall perfectly into place. Based solely on how it sounds, warmth equation is a meditative force to be reckoned with.
However, there are more than a few hang ups to be seen when looking at the bigger picture. At 27 minutes, the record is hardly a large undertaking — but White’s songwriting begins to feel repetitive and hits a definite lull in pace even after the third or fourth track. Nothing really goes anywhere or grabs too strongly for the listener’s attention, and as a result the record’s easygoing attitude begins to feel more apathetic instead. There are some bright lyrical moments, a spot here or there where a guitar part stands out a little, but nothing that remains truly engaging after a while.
Although this may sound deterring, warmth equation is by no means bad or disappointing. Fans of White’s work will be extremely pleased, and anyone else is pretty much getting what they bargained for. If you’re not a huge lo-fi head and are looking for something more groundbreaking, recent releases from Florist and Eskimeaux will most definitely do the trick. For big fans of the genre, though, this record will surely satisfy any appetite for soft and slow and sad.