Windy & Carl, "Allegiance and Conviction"
Windy Weber & Carl Hultgren are ambient rock royalty and a household name among the Terrastock devout. Their music is an ethereal lattice of sparkling, layered melodic fragments like so much brightly entwined coral, and subdued, profound vocals expertly placed. It uncovers the strata of human emotion, evoking emotions like hope, sadness, vitality, and joy. I find myself irrepressibly moved to tears by their clean, beautiful creations, both live and recorded. Allegiance and Conviction is squarely within their prior sound, while still being fresh enough to warrant spending quality time with.
The entire album is a story from start to finish, with enigmatic fragments sung in Weber‚Äôs alluring, deep register. In her own words, the protagonist is "a spy with a job to do, and she knows she needs to watch her back. But she falls in love and then finds herself deserted. In the end, does she live or does she die? You decide."
In the opening song, "The Stranger," it begins with a stately rumble underneath a ceremonial recitation of her stark lyrics. A thicket of dewy electric guitar follows in "Recon," misting and crisscrossing languidly. "Moth to Flame" is a rippling chakra-centering current‚Äîmotion through stasis, tranquility through breath. Next we don a shawl of fuzz on shoulders drooped, as vocals dip and sigh in the climax of the story, "Alone." Ensconced in warm hues, it feels nothing like its title and verse. "Will I See Dawn" has pinpoints of sound ping and fall and rise again‚Äîa flickering, pulsing array of light. Finally, the album concludes with "Crossing Over" on a circular figure that sounds like the inverse of an old Town & Country drone, with celestial maps whispered like elegy, and a weeping outro of muffled electric guitar.
The whole album is perhaps a bit darker in character than previous entries in their catalogue, but it still spans the emotional palette, and is an effective sonic blanket for the days of isolation to come.