Third full-length offering from international shoegazer who dreams big to make lo-fi shine on brightly.
Operating for five years now as a one-person ensemble SHINDIGS, a man named Beejay has managed to keep his profile low but amassed a faithful following online and decided to relocate from South Korea to San Diego to keep laptop where the action is. America proved inspirational on more than mundane level for the expat, and “Chilland” finds him suitably relaxed – or so it may seem, because there’s a lot going on under deceptively serene surface, from the very beginning and on to the finale.
Pregnant with promise, “Intro To” is a well-tempered rumble of thunder which will dissolve in ivories-lined clouds and progress from peaceful piano to menacing organ only to land on a cheery clang of “SD K J” whose vocals get submerged in a bass-punctured pop strum before splintering into hazy harmony. Yet it’s Orientally exquisite folktronica behind “Julian” that must steal the otherwise quiet scene and reign supreme, while “Don’t Mind” steps lightly to a twangy pace of its sly guitar. The drift would go retro on “Healthy Snaks” and fast-forward to the future in “Wake Space Pt. 2” – briskly picking up where 2015’s “Like So” left off – but there are fusion splashes in the microcosm of “Fair Weathered Days”: a token of the composer’s depth. It can also be fathomed by the ’80s nostalgia in “Aloveplices” – although “Flower Plants” flows further in time and echoes pellucid ’60s psychedelia.
Still, with the sweet stumble of “When We Can” hinting at hymnal intent that’s not unfolding in its entirety, “Chilland” leaves an impression of deliberate understatement… something to be rectified on this album’s follow-up.