In the wake of Covid-19 and the ever-constant threat of exposure and lockdowns, Glacier Veins has produced a worldly album that shows that the self is all we need.
The Oregon-based band is back with their sophomore album Lunar Reflection, a haunting meditation of spirituality. This album is a raw emotional experience that explores the sense of self and our connection to the elements. More than any other album I’ve heard in the last year, this is an LP that deserves to be listened to by oneself. It begs for introspection, mindfulness, and in the words of the late Ram Dass, “loving awareness.”
Taking in every inch of surrounding / full space, whole body / own space, own body
Lunar Reflection starts close with “Autonomy,” a single released earlier this year. This is a song that feels big. It’s immediately evident that Glacier Veins is very in control of atmosphere in their work, and they make every use of it through the album, but no song reflects it so well as “Autonomy.” It left me starstruck. I could swim in this song. Malia Endres’ voice is a measured tool that purrs through the song, slowly climbing to a crystalline clarity as it continues. Jason Espinoza’s smooth guitar work proves early that he has impressive control without being in your face or disruptive, instead adding another textured layer to their music—a presence not ignored, but not willing to hold a harsh spotlight.
The LP progresses through “Digging Myself Out” and “Flower Moon.” The former has an anxious quality from the very beginning and quickly builds to a screaming chorus with quickening guitar riffs and a forward-pushing bass beat by Kyle Woodrow. It’s a song that’s dedicated to going somewhere, and it ends too soon.
Cover me in dreams / Don’t have to throw them away / Cover me in dreams / I’ve reason to keep them safe / Cover me in dreams / Oh, I’ve been saving space
“Cover Me” is a popular song on the album, with relatable lyrics, an upbeat swing and punky drum action from Jesse Beirwagen. It’s a solid track with its own balladic bridge that brings all of that energy down to vocals and a slight strum of the guitar, like holding breath, before exploding back into the chorus. Call it the sonic equivalent of a rollercoaster, between adrenalized rushes and anticipatory lulls.
Waiting on the embers to / Show me, show me something
“Embers” is one of my personal favorites on the album. It leans on the mysticism that many of us lose as we grow older and rekindles a sense of awe and wonder with smooth vocals, a slower pace, and lighter percussion.
“Here & There” puts bass in the front and center. It’s delicious. More than anything, this song feels demanding and daringly dissonant in comparison to the rest of the album. Still, it’s very much the lynch-pin that holds the broader collection intact.
If I could swim in “Autonomy,” “Nurture” could tuck me into bed. Endres’ vocals in the chorus are like warm honey. However, the outro feels unnatural and out of place, and clashes with the beginning of the following song, “Know You.” The latter has more typical elements of rock, especially the guitar solo. It’s a solid song all around.
The energy follows me all the way home
“Lenses” is the song on this album that I’m most likely to put on repeat. It’s sonically aggressive and the chorus is simple and satisfying.
Doesn’t it feel good to feel this life? / Doesn’t it, doesn’t it feel good?
“Lunation” wraps Lunar Reflection with a banger. The song features an outro and fade out that leaves the album feeling wholly done and finished, but not in an abrupt manner. After floating through the preceding experience, this closer sets our feet back on the ground.
Overall, Lunar Reflection is a solid and beautiful meditation on the importance of self and completeness within it. It feels like wrapping yourself in a duvet, warm tea in hand, and night swimming under the stars. Glacier Veins captures this feeling of oneness and wonder that will bring me back to it again and again.
An avid book reader, overthinker, houseplant caretaker, and MMO player, Kay loves listening to angry music with as much bass boost as she can manage to balance her otherwise quiet lifestyle. If she doesn’t write about the stuff she likes it will inevitably be spewed forth in nonsense order to whomever will listen. She lives with her partner, an angry cat, and a lazy dog, both of which are named after StarCraft characters.