Vestals – Forever Falling Toward the Sky (Root Strata)


The distant lyrics and sleepy, droning repetition may at first remind one of Flying Saucer Attack, but San Francisco’ Lisa McGee (Portraits, Higuma) definitely strikes out into her own space. On this 300-run debut release as Vestals, she’ as likely to expand her fuzz-edged dream-pop into a room-filling swell (opener “Forever Falling’) as pull everything back in for a quaint two-minute interlude (“Between Worlds’).

Mostly, though, McGee deals in looped layers and foggy distance. “Into Night’s oozes along, even once staggered vocals and delayed guitar noise appears, but it does so with a convincing pull. “Of Ripples’ reveals a fairly straightforward style of indie pop singing, if one were to strip away all the surroundings, but the surroundings are key. The 10-minute track seems to unspool some in the middle and take its time more, while a snaky guitar line repeats and begins to degrade amid the other recurring elements. Guitar is the instrument of choice here, but bass manifests too.

By the time of the final track, “In Waking Dreams’, rippling guitar work is well established as a source of comfort. Multiple vocal parts crowd the field, as does fuzz and tambourine and general washing richness. As with the other tracks, McGee painstakingly assembles a multi-faceted structure and then lets it simply melt away, like the tide laying inevitable waste to some ornate creation sprung from the sand.

Doug Wallen


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