Album Review: Ashley Eriksson – Colours

ashley_eriksson_coloursPerhaps it’s not limited to the Pacific Northwest, but the region does boast an impressive ability to capture a sense of place. That ability has differed over the years, from bands like Bikini Kill and Sleater-Kinney capturing the tenaciousness and unrest of an empowered base of riot grrrls to Phil Elverum’s project The Microphones/Mount Eerie uncannily translating all the mystery of the area’s mountains and fog into an aural experience. Much of the music revolves around a common cast of characters, and K Records is always at the center.

Ashley Eriksson’s new album Colours, out on K now, continues to carry the torch of these trends. Eriksson is a core member of the band LAKE, and has lived alternatively between her label’s hometown of Olympia and the far northwest corner of the state on a group of islands that the aforementioned Mr. Elverum also calls home. Colours is a drifting album of pelagic songs that unfold unhurriedly but possess an undeniably sunny, understated pop sensibility.

Although Eriksson’s album and its success have no reliance on an understanding of or dependence upon Mount Eerie’s work, the two strike me as an intriguingly connected pair. If Mount Eerie’s songs are a dense fog on the pre-dawn harbors that surround Anacortes, Ashley Eriksson’s music is the late morning sun, illuminating and burning off the hazy, low-lying clouds. There’s a bright mysteriousness that guides the album.

On Colours, sleepiness begins to fade. In a moment when the morning’s gray mist begins to dissolve and the sun reveals the green of spring trees, the blue of the pacific, its own warm yellow—colors. Eriksson’s album is full of subtlety. Restraint would be the wrong word, because the record so effortless unfurls, organically measured. You’re listening to elements that comprise the core of the Pacific Northwest’s identity. That serene, perfect encapsulation of the environment surrounding Eriksson is what makes Colours so memorable and praiseworthy. But the fact that the songs sound so blissful and calming makes the album one to which you’ll return.

About author
Bryan Parker is a writer and photographer living and working in Austin, TX. He is the founder of blog Pop Press International and print journal True Sincerity and recently released his first book, a volume on Beat Happening in the 33 1/3 series.

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