Subverting notions of “pop” music, Brooklyn’s Personal Space may write some gorgeous songs, but they’ll also challenge ideas that pop music, by virtue of it being “popular”, is merely artistic or cultural fluff. Instead their dense and rewarding debut, ‘Ecstatic Burbs’, is an album that feels endlessly spacious yet simultaneously brief; a challenging, cerebral pop record that twists time and shapes spectacular sounds.
An incredible five of the eight songs on ‘Ecstatic Burbs’ clock in at over five minutes in length; that not a single one comes close to feeling that run-time is testament to some astonishingly serpentine song structures and splendid pacing. For every psych-rock freakout or chamber pop spark, there are some wonderful minimal sojourns and gentle interludes, such as the one found on ‘A Weekend With… (The Horse Head)’. These moments help to add a delightfully delicate fresco to Personal Space’s elastic indie-pop, making ‘Ecstatic Burbs’ potentially daunting eight songs seem tantalisingly brief.
More remarkably, ‘Ecstatic Burbs’ feels unbelievably natural. For all the moments of pure instrumentation, it never feels like Personal Space are just filling time or showing off, more that the songs organically grew to fill the space. It can feel like a neglected skill, but you get the feeling that Personal Space worked in the interets of the song, rather than forcing the issue throughout ‘Ecstatic Burbs. Cuts such as the wonderful ‘An Evening With… (Mr. Brontosaurus)’ and ‘Ecstatic World’ possess an almost slacker-pop lackadaisicalness, which reinforices the thinking that Personal Space are working on a a different level to many of their peers, creating a meandering epic that ebbs and flows perfectly and naturally.
Better still, ‘Ecstatic Burbs’ sounds fantastic, awash with textures that fly at you from all directions. It’s perhaps easiest to draw comparisons with the likes of Volcano, I’m Still Excited!! or of Montreal in Personal Space’s ability to conjure up elegant and engaging pop songs that don’t pander to the audience or play to basest denominators. Instead ‘Ecstatic Burbs’ is a fine modern indie-pop album; eccentric, eclectic and frequently electric.
’Ecstatic Burbs’ by Personal Space is released on October 14th on Tiny Engines.
Words by Rob Mair (@BobNightMair)