Secret diary of New York duo’s descent into darkness and purifying trip toward brighter light.
Some couples compose melodies to reflect on family comforts; other pairs aren’t averse to spreading euphonious despair and delight in equal measure. The former focus on transient pleasures; the latter latch onto eternity – and this is how YAGULL embrace existence. If the duo’s previous record, 2015’s "Kai" – named after Kana Kamitsubo and Sasha Markovic’s son – seemed full of glimmer, that album’s follow-up – bearing the name of their unborn daughter – has gloom in its heart. Still, as black and white can’t survive separately, Sasha’s guitar and Kana’s piano don’t complement each other now but rather play together to locate glow in the murk…
…which is why a music box sort of sound may lead to magical immersion in “Searching For The Moon” where acoustic six strings caress the ivories, while there’s a much wider variety of moods unfolding in front of the listener until this piece’s reprise, a folk-tinctured finale, proposes a way out of romantic reverie. Converging for unison and going off on a tangent, the two instruments’ delicate lines weave a tapestry of love – but also of toil and trouble that go with it – so lower tones explored in “Dawn” place both expectancy and anxiety in the elegiac and dynamically gracious tune. Only on the cover of “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath” the couple’s previously concealed anger and sadness are laid out in intimate baroque patterns, as the original scalding has been removed in favor of enhanced self-doubt. Yet, no catharsis would be offered here.
Yes, solemnly lyrical, “Muse” can take one’s breath away, Sasha’s strum turning pain into truly spiritual experience – bittersweet and inspiring, if not soul-cleansing. By signalling new beginning, Kana’s brisk intro and hymnal uplift of “101” is able to bring intricately detailed closure, though, to channel through sheer insistence and intensity whose percussive climax will be resolved in the ruminative “Fall Winter” before filigree ripples carry “Riverwas” to impressionist paradise. It’s there that a pastorale sets in with “Mori (Forest Song)” – the pellucid memory of a past never lived – and the album’s vocal-washed title track gently comes alive. After rumbles of thunder have given “Kiri” emotional momentum, clarity becomes ultimate: the artists found their beacon and created a masterpiece out of adversity.