I once read on the world wide web’s preeminent authority on all things in life – Wikipedia – that film noir is “a cinematic term used primarily to describe stylish Hollywood crime dramas, particularly such that emphasize cynical attitudes and sexual motivations.” The two modern writer / directors that I would associate with that term would be Quentin Tarantino and David Lynch. Both filmmakers are notable for their films’ visual flair, storytelling, and use of music that evokes a visceral reaction from the viewer. What good is a perfect film if it doesn’t have the perfect music? Along those lines, I’ve often sought out artists that sound like they are providing a soundtrack to an imaginary noir film. New York City’s The Lovely Intangibles fit the bill in stunning fashion.
The Lovely Intangibles are an offshoot from the equally fabulous The Lost Patrol. What began as a collaboration between former Dotsun Moon vocalist Mary Ognibene and The Lost Patrol’s Stephen Masucci ended up including fellow Lost Patrol members Michael Williams and Tony Mann. In this era of shoegaze band reunions, The Lovely Intangibles offer up a fresh sound that is invigorating. At times sounding like the missing link between Mazzy Star and The Cure, while retaining The Lost Patrol’s surf tinged shoegaze sound, this is a memorable debut album. I can imagine this music playing in the car as Agents Chester Desmond (Chris Isaak) and Sam Stanley (Kiefer Sutherland) have their bizarre conversation at the beginning of Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me. The Lovely Intangibles set an atmospheric tone from the start, and it never lets up throughout the album’s 9 tracks.
No Amends starts off the album in dream pop fashion, with the lyrics hinting at a darkness that is unsettling. Washes of synths lend the song a vibe similar to the great Manchester band, The Chameleons. Mary Ognibene’s vocals are nothing short of stunning, bringing to mind the great Elizabeth Fraser (Cocteau Twins). The Dust Settles Down is awash in reverb and surf guitars, simply perfection. The album’s title track is a highlight, a synthesis of everything the band excels at. Heartbroken, no glimpses of light – it is a truly affecting song. Layered vocals as Ognibene sings “All I know is this sorrow” is maybe the high point of the entire album. It’s Just Like You features my favorite surf guitar sound on the album, that opening riff is the soundtrack to hot summer nights with danger in the air. Relapse ends the album on a beautiful high point. Minimal percussion and guitars, the emphasis is on the vocals and synthesizer accompaniment. Resignation & regret live here, and those feelings remain long after the song has ended. A haunting way to bid adieu to the listener.
The album is out now and can be found at all the usual suspects. You can also preview the tracks at the band’s Bandcamp site.
Verdict: Stunning Debut
For Fans of: Mazzy Star, The Chameleons, Chris Isaak, The Lost Patrol, David Bowie, The Jesus and Mary Chain
- No Amends
- The Dust Settles Down
- Tell Me When
- Do As You Please
- Tomorrow Is Never
- It’s Just Like You
- Will You Surrender