By Nate Zivin
At the first listen to Laveda’s latest studio release What Happens After, my heart started racing.
Overwhelmed by finally finding a great band, which seems so hard to do these days, I knew Laveda was worthwhile to get invested in. Laveda sonically sensationalizes all the right taste buds at once. The swelling, chorusy guitar sound at the beginning of their title track “Ghost,” a massive wash of rhythmic and ethereal guitar driven construction like that of My Bloody Valentine and other dream pop bands, then leading into the gentle and enchanting vocals of Ali Genevich, intensified by a bed of sounds as if you are moving through outer space; the perfect introduction to what this band is all about: “shoegaze inspired dream pop.”
I listened with intent through the rest of the record. Songs like “CND” set the record’s contextual tone; how we are all doomed to be constantly paranoid because of our unjust human history.
Then it went right into “Rager” with upbeat tempos and fast guitar lines like an indie-pop band such as The Drums. But then immediately twisting your expectations by the bands staple— the big wall of sound supported by the lyrical terror of a time in the near foreseen future.
We see the theme of our world’s complexity continue into “L,” describing a fundamental error in the new generation of a distinct and unsettling problem with loving each other. Later reflecting that it’s not just the world, it’s also the complexity and the off-timing of communication in deeply close relationships in “If Only (You Said No).”
Like many other shoe-gaze outfits, where much of the lyricism is hazy and open to interpretation, this record has a one-of-a-kind haunting realness and heavy relatability that is understood deeply, especially by generation woke.
Laveda’s sound is also more salient and focused on melody than other shoe-gaze groups, and has greater pop attributes (dream pop) and regular pop (think Lorde). This might be because the band’s wall of sound employs creative ways of using fuzz, saturation, guitar doubling and Ali’s sweet and refined vocal style.
The whole premise of the record is an awakening to the frightening trauma that has taken over the life of the writer, attempting to re-create the emotional impact of their reactions to the future of our world through past relationships.
The shocking feeling embedded in the music encapsulates the traumas of the US and our world that is impactful beyond spoken words and historical contexts. Coincidentally, or not, this record was released a few months after the onset of COVID-19, which might hint to the references of the end of the world through the midst of the writer’s lyrical intensity, or the lyrical prevalence to a collective conscious distress we are all going through. This record also makes sense of death through the writer’s unique foresight of the future death of everything in existence.
In several of the songs, we hear references to there being no sound. Blue Beach: “here no sound,” Ghost: “silent sound,” Dream. Sleep: “heart is sound to let go.”
My impression is that the band is trying to convey what the end of the world will sound like; what silence sounds like, just like how you can’t see when it’s dark. They do this by creating faintness, airyness and musical parts that cover each other up so you can’t distinguish the exact melody or harmony the song is making.
While these are common musical elements in shoegaze, the production seems to mimic the lyrical concepts in many of the songs verse sections, guitar effects and unique uses of feedback, creating a sort of ear-ringing effect, similar to when your ears stop processing (tune out) the sounds that come into them. Even in “Dream. Sleep,” “Hey turn the lights off and all the stars,” poking at what the future will be like. Nothing.
Overall, this is my favorite record of 2020. I cannot wait to keep this one playing all the way through the rest of it.
Featured image retrieved from Laveda.