It was a while ago now, I forget quite how long, that I stumble far off the beaten track onto Memoirs by Veronica Dajani. At the time the 19-minute album stoned me and had me playing it on repeat for weeks. In that obsession I was also well aware that I was completely incapable of ever explaining to someone what it was about the collection of songs that made me fall in love with the album so much. Now looking back, perhaps it was its unapologetic route straight to the listeners heart through such little means. At the time I believe I compared it to listening to someone practice from down a hall way. There’s a private innocence to every song, almost like they were never meant to be heard and I will be the first to admit that might not garner much mainstream love, but you know what? I recently revisited the album for the first time in months and… fuck the mainstream. Maybe we all just need that one album that sounds so private that it can only be honest.
When I heard about a second album, Starlight, I was as excited for the album as I had been for any over the last six weeks. It was hard to build this enthusiasm when I would mention it to other music writers and receive blank stares and shrugs in return but a shepherd that needs his flock to make decisions has become a sheep and since Tuesday afternoon, I have finally been able to live with Starlight. The first track, Tonya’s Theme, I am ashamed to say I never got round to reviewing when it was released as a single last summer. The instrumental, themed around infamous Ice Skater Tonya Harding is, a wonderful waltz into the album, immediately subtly showing off the growth from Memoirs. This leads into the first new release, another instrumental, Interstellar, an ethereal float down a cosmic lazy river that I could (and have) lay and listen to for far longer than its 01:55 run time. We finish the first quarter of the album with Flood Lights (Into A Smile), for now perhaps my favourite track of the album. Again, much like the whole of Memoirs, this returns to the innocence of dream and thought, reprising the themes of ice skating in beautifully simple lyrics.
I was planning on doing a track by track run through but I just find myself listening to the whole album as one. That and, I am a student, money is tight at the minute (what kind of student loan is useful on the fucking 5th of May?!), and this release is currently only on Bandcamp. It is for these reasons that I shall go on with the little notes I scribble down, ahem… Tracks four through six are, (shock horror) a continuation of the laidback beauty of the openers. I loved the theme of ice skating that seems to bleed into the instrumentation on many of the tracks, with the vocals gliding all over the echo-sodden backing. There has always been some childlike charm about Dajani’s work and this is no more apparent than on track 7 …But You Are In A Dream. The simple arpeggio and dreamy vocals give it a beautifully lullaby feel that I know I will be coming back to when I cobble the money together to buy the damn LP (I will, I promise, and I implore you to do the same).
The simple arpeggio gets a reprise in track nine, funnily enough named Arpeggio Love a beautifully easy to listen to instrumental that is sandwich between the eight and tenth tracks, making up two of the three longest songs on the album B.F.L. Planetary System and Minimal Minni Mus (at 03:17 and 03:50 respectively) they serve as a welcomed prolonged goodbye to something that I didn’t want to end.
In the end, much like Memoirs, I struggle to find words and I’m completely fine for my opinion to fall on deaf ears. I connected more to Memoirs personally but that is nothing against this stellar sophomore and, I would assume, more a personal taste issue. In fact, I would say that Starlight’s exploration into themes that are pulled throughout the album is far more technically impressive than Memoirs and deserves its credit. I remember writing up my review of Memoirs in the knowledge of its reach half expecting it to be a one-time thing, maybe more than half but I am overjoyed it’s not and hope there is more to come. I think I should end this by saying that, I haven’t written in a while because of an increase in final year uni work and other factors but when something deserves to be experienced, it should be so I am writing this at 1:30am and I can’t think of anything I would rather be doing. I hope that in this, one person listens to this that otherwise wouldn’t have. I’ll leave you in the hands of Eric Cantona because if this can SOMEHOW demonstrate his love for football it can demonstrate mine for what a great album can do to a person, in that, I have changed the third last word to music, the rest is direct;
As flies wanton boys are we to the gods, they kill us for their sport. Soon the science will not only be able to slow down the ageing of cells, soon the science will fix the cells to the state and we will become eternal. Only accidents, crimes, wars will still kill us but, unfortunately, crimes and wars will multiply. I love music thank you.