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  • Writer's pictureMichael Bless

Soft Blue Shimmer- Heaven Inches Away (Album Review)

On their debut record, L.A. based dreamgaze band, Soft Blue shimmer, explore their chosen sound throughout 9 songs about the budding and breakdown of human relationships.

Soft Blue Shimmer are a great example of a band who fully embraces their sound to its truest form. On the 35 minute album, the thing that stuck out to me was just how comforting this whole record felt throughout. Even if some tracks are generally about wanting something back that you once had, musically, this record acts as a warm hand to hold and comfort the listener through it all. Heaven Inches Away acts as the bit of warmth we need to get us through the darker months of the year. The lead singer’s vocal performance throughout the record is the vocal equivalent to golden hour, which, when added to the gleaming guitar work throughout these 9 tracks is quite the deadly combination.

The song placement throughout Heaven Inches Away tells the tale of traditional feelings and emotions one would have whilst growing close to someone, only to fade away from them. On the second track of the album, we are greeted with the track ‘Emerald Bells’, which is a song about the magnitude one feels while being near, or far from a person who they are in love with. The third track, ‘Chihiro’, is about that same (or potentially a different) person whom they were so in love with, as it is a song that addresses the aftermath of a relationship and the question one asks themselves when something goes so wrong. Our lead vocalist questions the emotions that were once felt, almost in a self blaming way, stating, ‘Do you remember us blissfully // or do I disorder everything?’

As we continue to grow further away from this person throughout the album, Heaven Inches Away explores the way we as people weigh our past relationships and experiences, from feeling like we need to reinvent ourselves and who we surround ourselves with, as showcased on ‘Sunpools’, ‘Cherry-Cola Abyss’ explores the feeling of your loved one still being around, even though you are so far away, the emotions they invoked and things they used to do still feel so close, almost as if they have never left. Even though one experiences these feelings of emptiness while trying to forget about someone, we can overcome thinking about past love in a negative fashion, as shown in the track ‘Hold You in the Warm’, where we see our lead singer slowly coming back out of the coma that is missing someone after a breakup and the small victories that come with it, like being able to realize that the past happened for a reason.

‘Musubi’ feels the most personal of all of the tracks on Heaven Inches Away as it chronicles a story where one of these people places flowers on the other’s doorstep, and the recipient does the same after they get these, potentially either as a peace offering or a token of apology. ‘Waves at Dune’ follows this up, where our vocalist is experiencing the highs and lows of being apart, as it seems emotions can change from feeling happiness to sadness in the course of a second. ‘Adore the Distance’ is the closing track, and as a closer, lyrically it feels interesting, as it feels as if our lead singer is so depressed about the past that they can’t seem to move, and rationality has long gone out the window.

Musically, this album feels like what you would expect from a dream-pop record. Bright guitar tones and percussion that gives the tracks the emotional edge it needs, followed up by a hazy vocal performance. I was pleased by the overall instrumental pace of the record, as our songs seemingly flow relatively well from one to the next, not exactly changing up with any significance as far as structure is concerned. When you have songs that are intertwined like the tracks on Heaven Inches Away, this is pleasant and makes for a very cohesive experience.

As Soft Blue Shimmer states, Heaven Inches Away is a record that is designed both for people who want to sink thought into the music they listen to, and for people who just want to escape the world they are currently living in. I can confirm this sentiment to be 100% true. I did not realize the lyrics were as in depth and intricate as they were upon my first couple of listens through this album, but as I slowly started to peel the sounds back, I was greeted by lyrics that were quite introspective and created a story I could get behind. Soft Blue Shimmer put a lot of thought into what they create and it is brilliantly showcased throughout Heaven Inches Away.

Rating: 7.2/10

Favorite track: Emerald Bells, Musubi

Least Favorite track: Waves at Dune

Listen to the track, Emerald Bells, from Soft Blue Shimmer's album, Heaven Inches Away, below:

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