Snowmine- Dialects

By Chris Dahlberg

Published on Sunday, January 19, 2014

Brooklyn’s Snowmine is one of those bands that hooked me from the very first listen. When the group released “Rome,” the first single off their newest release Dialects a few months back I couldn’t stop listening and put the song on repeat for quite some time. There was just something about the mixture of keyboards, orchestral elements, and catchy guitar riffs that made the indie pop/rock band stand out. Now that I’ve had the chance to absorb the release for a few days, it’s clear that the entire effort has been given as much attention to detail as “Rome.” Dialects is able to provide a consistently warm and inviting feel while switching its sound up from one song to the next, ensuring Snowmine has just as much substance as they do style.

What works so well about this release is the way that everything flows together while never fully repeating itself. One song might find Snowmine diving into laid back pop rock that uses sweeping orchestral arrangements, while the next might feel closer to traditional synth pop. Unlike many of the others that have gone for orchestral or choral elements in their music this group has not used any pre-recorded samples, instead recording everything themselves. This makes Dialects have a much more natural feel compared to other releases, and when the bulk of the instrumental work makes the switch from organic to electronic it’s completely seamless. But what matters the most is how engaging these songs are. Snowmine is not only able to create a diverse sound that uses familiar elements in a different way on each track, but the hooks continually pull you in. The instrumentalists have mastered using soaring melodies to create a warm and inviting sound that never fails to impress, and even after spending a few days apart from this album due to other commitments many of these arrangements were still swirling around in my head. Dialects is one of those releases that’s entrancing from beginning to end, and it’s able to hop around different genres while still keeping melodic pop hooks as the focus.

Although the instrumental work helps to make this album appealing, it is the combination of the vocals and instrumentals that really gives it the maximum amount of impact. The primary style is a softer, laid back pitch that intertwines with the layers of melody in a way that instantly grabs your attention. What I really like about the performance is the way that it is able to switch between a more direct and commanding presence and a hazier, almost psychedelic one that seems to almost get lost within the music itself. I’ve tended to notice that a lot of groups go for either one style or the other, so Snowmine’s ability to mix the two and throw in some stunning choral work in the middle is what makes them so appealing and it’s one of the main reasons I’ve continued to come back for repeat listens.

This isn’t an album that can fully be lumped into one particular category, although soaring melodic hooks with plenty of pop sensibilities do drive the material forward. But Snowmine’s diversity and ability to keep their songwriting at a high level no matter which direction they go in makes them a band absolutely worth checking out. Dialects is an album that had me in an introspective and happy mood the entire time, and it’s likely to stay in my rotation for some time to come. The group has chosen to skip the label route and is crowdfunding pre-order options through their website, and I hope they’re successful as their particular sound is one that I simply can’t get enough of.

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