A busy year for Art is Hard looks set to continue as the label releases Honey, Milk and Blood, the debut EP from Shunkan on May 5th. The E.Ps closing track ‘Wash You Away’ is a slice of well crafted alt-pop that rises above its shoegaze aesthetic.
All too often bands will smother their output in layers of tape hiss and buzzy feedback, deliberately trashing tracks to cover some deficit in songwriting. ‘Wash You Away’, by contrast, is a sparkling example of lo-fi done right, the strength of the song never undermined or lost in the bedroom production.
The vocals may sound like former Moldy Peach Kimya Dawson singing at the top of her register down a telephone but Marina Sakimoto’s vocals are strong and sit high in the mix, pushed above the acoustic guitar and layers of fuzz. There is a tangible confidence in the delivery of lyrics like ‘I’m constantly in a state between worlds’ and the almost anthemic chorus ‘I tried to wash you away/but you wouldn’t come out/You’re a stain in my brain once again’.
This makes for a compelling listen and the track reaches the near four minute mark pretty quickly. Even with the lilting, fingerpicked coda, ‘Wash You Away’ never feels drawn out or over done. What is even more refreshing is that Sakimoto doesn’t adopt the kind of contrived naivety synonymous with similar end-of-a-relationship narratives. Instead, her lyrics and voice are imbued with a simple melancholia that is hard to fake.