A splendid holiday surprise from Liz Harris came today as a new Grouper 7″ entitled Paradise Valley, comprised of songs “Headache” and “I’m Clean Now.” It’s by far the most happy-go-lucky name she’s put on a project title & picture as an album cover. Along with that may be the most upbeat sound she’s put on record. For good reason, since the 7″ was released to celebrate the winter solstice. Party time.
Sound wise, “Headache” lands at a happy medium between Harris’ lo-fi rock project Helen from last year and her usual haunting Grouper sound, to great effect, whereas “I’m Clean Now” is more The Man Who Died In His Boat era. The signature drenching reverb and solemn drone in the background are there in both as always, but her guitar playing and vocals seem more present than ever, reaching more forward in the mix than I’ve heard from her in a while.
But I mean, let’s be real: one can never go wrong with Grouper in whatever phase she’s in. Full on drone, more singer songwriter, a mixture of both – it’ll always be good. In this case, the simple finger-picked guitar along with layers of voice and other angelic noise create a halo of warmth for the listener. A perfect way to usher in one of the worst times of the year – ultimate sonic comfort. Thank you Liz! Hope everyone has a comfortable holiday and new year.