Published Mar 25, 2020Three decades into a musical career, most artists tend to either reinvent their process or cannibalize their past. Michigan space rock duo Windy Weber and Carl Hultgren somehow take both and neither of those paths.
While their Bandcamp page has seen a handful of singles, demos and event-specific digital releases, Allegiance and Conviction is the duo's first "official" full-length in eight years. The enveloping sound has the trademark W&C swirl of warm drones pushing aloft the bright pointillist guitar notes that fuss together like a colony of fire ants before disappearing back underground. One of the first notable breaks with tradition is the album's reliance on Weber's vocals. Her whispered tones haunt more than half of the albums tracks, suggesting someone who has awoken from a dream of existential panic and is working out their feelings through lyrics from early '80s Cure albums.
Another of the duo's usual powers has been the hypnotism that comes from the extended duration of their pieces — Tantric drone if you will. But this album's six tracks combined clock in shorter than a few of their earlier, individual tracks. There are undeniable moments of bliss and transcendence, like the unusually sparse and considered meditation of guitar and vapour over what sounds like electric piano on "Will I See the Dawn," or the muted take on Sunn O)))-style terror and overdrive on "Alone."
Despite its "six years in the making" descriptor, Allegiance and Conviction feels more like an EP of collected experiments toward a new, more realized work. A satisfying stop along the way to the main attraction. (Kranky)