ALBUM: Tess Roby – ‘Beacon’

If you are looking for a soundtrack for your fresh Spring evenings, Montreal-based Tess Roby’s debut album Beacon will envelop you in dreamy waves of poetic synthpop. Accompanied by her brother Eliot Roby on guitar, the album is an homage to their father (who died in 2015). Recorded with the drum machines and synthesizers she found in her father’s recording studio, the album evokes the intimacy of family in the beautiful dawn and mist of Tess’s voice.

Kicking off the album with a laidback pop start, ‘Given Signs’ opens out into sparkling guitar hooks, offering belief and hope – “holding onto to given signs, everything you saw in me.” The two singles ‘Catalyst’ and ‘Ballad 5’ are melancholic and reflective, bringing love to the surface in an ethereal arrangement where every single sound has a meaning in hypnotic repetition.

Elsewhere, whispers, memories, and pain are explored. Experiments with found sounds consolidate the overall cinematic effects; in the wind song used in ‘Air above Mirage’, for example, and the chiming Zen-like effects in the funereal ‘Tripling’ – “When I feel nothing is when I am most present.”

Featuring eight tracks of lucid dream pop, the album inhabits the liminal spaces between light and dark, memory and experience. Each song is a carefully crafted cinematic piece, echoing with classic sounds you think you may have heard before – perhaps because it is brimming with latent melodies from classic ’60s to ’80s pop (echoes of the Exorcist soundtrack even!) brought back to life. A debut with depth; listen to the songs and let them bathe you in hypnotic hues of melody and visuals.

Beacon, the upcoming album from Tess Roby, is out 4th May via Italians Do It Better.

Fi Ni Aicead

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