Reaching For Indigo
Reaching for Indigo is the fifth album from Haley Fohr (aka Circuit des Yeux), an Indiana born, Chicago based musician who's been steadily releasing albums for the past 2 decades. This is her first release for the revered Drag City label and, I'm slightly embarrassed to say, it's the first I've heard, but it certainly won't be the last. The album opens with "Brainshift" which seemed to me like an eccentric Dexy's Midnight Runners number, just a distinctive voice, some subtle organ notes and, eventually, a bit of warming brass. It's so well formed, so chillingly performed and so perfectly produced. As a newcomer to Fohr's world it's also a totally disarming opening gambit and one that had me instantly hooked. The good news then is that this standard is equalled and often bettered throughout the eight tracks that make up Reaching for Indigo. It's staunchly weird, but Fohr has a neat trick up her sleeve, in that she knows exactly how to craft a pop song too. There are elements here from Gospel and Blues, to early electronica, to trip-hop and jazz amongst others. Reaching for Indigo collates all of these reference points and does it remarkably well, without muddying the waters or diluting. Everything sounds beautifully coherent and classic. The centrepiece of the album is the stunning "Paper Bag" which opens with a good two minutes of experimental vocal looping (I imagine this would sound spectacular live) and eventually finds Fohr showing off her unique vocal talents over an oddly hypnotic acoustic guitar riff. It's half simple, half complex and eventually descends into a psychedelic heap. The psychedelic theme is taken a step further on the following track "A Story Of This World Part II", which is essentially a distorted, repetitive almost-instrumental which sounds like nothing else on the album. Reaching for Indigo is a record that may give you renewed hope that music can be both joyfully accessible and thoroughly original at the same time. Let's face it, this is probably going to be the best album of the year isn't it?