Portland’s Vibrissae have recently re-released their debut album, Somewhere Away, which places them firmly on the dark side of things. They’ve been described as a shoegaze band, but they’re much more complicated than that. They make unsettling music, equally creepy in its quiet and loud moments.
It’s clear that the band put a lot of work into this album. They’ve spent as much time on intricate arrangements as they have on atmosphere and mood, resulting in a set of fully realized compositions that vary as much as possible within the confines of the band’s sound. The pulsing “Never Again” sounds like video game music at times, and the end of “Crooked Smile” is the musical equivalent of Stanley Kubrick’s most frightening film scenes. In fact, the album’s title track would play perfectly as a horror movie soundtrack.
Vibrissae are not all about being scary. They even have a few ethereal, pretty moments on “Bulun” and “Not Forever.” But they definitely inhabit a dark corner of the musical universe, crafting an album that functions as a playlist for life’s less happy moments.