Local Review: Selfmyth – Mould

Local Music Reviews


Street: 01.25
Selfmyth = Father John Misty + Sufjan Stevens  / The Beach Boys’ Smiley Smile

On Mould, Selfmyth makes psychedelia soft again, blending shoegaze soundscapes with mellow indie-rock in waves. It moves through somber ballads, chanting blues and euphoric melodies at an undulating pace. Listening to Mould from top to bottom is equivalent to cuddling up in your best knit socks in front of a fireplace,  letting them enchant and entrance you for a full 38 minutes straight, just to see the gyrating heat perform your very own personal, at-home Laser Floyd. (In this scenario, you are also probably puffing on something.) It’s cozy, but in a distorted way—like The Beach Boys being performed in the “Other World” from Coraline.

Expanding on the experimental sound of Selfmyth’s previous two albums, Mould is exploratory in its instrumentation and contemplative in its lyricism. Selfmyth is a solo project; the creator describes themself online as “[a] bard known only as the Wanderer of Echoes.” It is indeed an album of many wanderings. Like any classic psychedelic album (or trip), Mould is paced through highs and lows that feel well-developed.

“Behind the Dead Horse” opens Mould as a downtempo track of layered, warbling acoustics and gentle maracas imitating the sound of rain, but for all its tonic warmth, the song is quite paranoid and haunting. I mean, check out these lyrics, delivered in a drawn-out monotone like a lost outlaw: “All is falling / Hell is calling / And I can’t give up / Give up to the fascists now.” Selfmyth drones a repeated refrain throughout the song: “I know they’re coming, coming for me.” This repetition gathers throughout the track to create a paranoid claustrophobia that cuts against the jangly strumming and light chiming. It’s exactly the kind of track I can imagine being selected for an episode of Breaking Bad, particularly “The Fly.”

Tracks like “Delay Tomorrow” and “Red Runner” pulse with a muddy intensity, while “Dinosaur Trading Cards” and “Parchment” are brighter, breezier and a ton of fun—these are your scrappy, indie, summer night songs, if you will. “Dinosaur Trading Cards” is an underdog anthem with the lines “Put it up / Just one more payment / Burn it out / We’ll just have to fake it,” and narrates what I think is everyone’s inner monologue lately in the chorus, which asks varying versions of “Can you / Will you / Should you do enough?”  “Depth” and “Ringing That Bell” are sister tracks, dominated by meditative piano and twin sentiments of melancholy, with “Depth” asking, “Why can’t it all work out?” and “Ringing That Bell” pleading with a lover to “tell me how to talk to you.”

“No One Tells” is the peak of this album’s journey—the electric guitar gives the track the exuberance of something by Jónsi or Radical Face and the sweet, gathered vocals of Selfmyth here are as intricate and cozy as any Hozier or Iron & Wine number. This is the part of the trip when you’re absolutely floating in the clouds, and fittingly, “No One Tells” is the telling of an alien experience: “We’ve landed / We’re stable / Now scanning / Enabled,” chants Selfmyth in the first verse. The scanned object is a “girl in the mould,” the airy refrain reveals—a framework of femininity that is inevitably complex, as the second verse reports: “Oh teachers, examples / You’ve left too much to unravel.” The final two tracks, “Somnambulant” and “Wire,” charge the album forward to a close with a dark gusto. “Somnambulant” is another haunting song, taking the experience of sleepwalking and dramatizing it through wailing vocals and a trudge-like beat. “Wire” brings the trip home with descending scale vocals and riffs that crash like waves.

Mould, like the title itself, is made of multiplicities. It’s an album you’re meant to meditate on, to let guide you down one of its many branching paths. Listen now on all streaming platforms, and follow @selfmyth on Instagram for live show updates. –Libby Leonard

Read more local reviews here:
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Local Review: Minute After 8 – Right On Time