Middletown, Connecticut's Landing have been quietly refining their own brand of psychedelia-cum-shoegazing since the husband and wife team of Adrienne and Aaron Snow first pooled their love of Slowdive and The Cure back in the late nineties. Taking an elementary approach to song structures and then packing the tracks with all the requisite reverb and keyboard drones that define the genre, Landing have made consistent advances with this formula since their debut. A full-length, Seasons
, was released last May and featured Landing's most conventional and accessible compositions; while the band remain a part of the dream-pop school of ambient guitars and hushed vocals, gone was much of the unfocused white noise that characterized such early efforts as Oceanless
. This new five song EP was entirely improvised -- a testament to the leaps and bounds that Landing have made since their previous work. It demonstrates a clarity of conception that fully realizes the possibilities of the duo's sound.
While ambient guitar noise and Moog drones are certainly Landing's sonic foundation, Fade In/Fade Out's density lies with the melodic instrumentation that appears from the mist of these hazy backdrops. The echoing melodies of single string guitar lines wrap back upon themselves, creating the illusion of polyrhythmic structures. The acoustic guitar that enters midway through the cascading swells of heavily treated guitars on "Constellations" is a brilliant counterpoint to the white noise and distorted sounds that arrive just before the track's conclusion. It is ultimately left alone in the stereo field, free from the ringing delay that initially reinforced its chiseled sound. Decidedly Pygmalion (a la Slowdive) in its complex pairing of ambience and intent, a wall of noise is never simply a wall of noise in Landing's mind. The first appearance of drums on the almost percussion-free EP (on the heart-wrenching "Whirlwind" -- drummer Daron Gardner otherwise occupies his time with bass duties) recalls the dynamism and ethereal glory of Slowdive's earliest EPs and the work currently being done by Below The Sea and Windy & Carl. Its deliberate pace and Eno-esque ambience, seemingly comprised of effected guitar loops, slowly relaxes to allow the soft and comforting call of Adrienne Snow's delicate voice to push through, leading it to an appropriate conclusion.
While comparisons to Low are often generated as a result of Adrienne and Aaron's marital relationship and religious backgrounds, Fade In/Fade Out will surely draw listener's minds back to the work of Slowdive and Flying Saucer Attack and away from less-than-accurate allusions to contemporary artists. If the EP's melodic elements find their way into the conventional structures demonstrated earlier this year on Seasons, Landing's next full-length will be a stunner.