If this is what heaven sounds like, please make sure my name is on the guest list at the Pearly Gates. Jamison, the young man from Chilliwack, B.C. who trades under the Teen Daze moniker — as well as his Two Bicycles side project — fell under the beach-pop umbrella with his previous Teen Daze outing, Four More Years, a shimmering wave of blissed-out riffs and ethereal crooning. But the follow-up EP, A Silent Planet, is another aural animal entirely.
Apparently, the journey that culminated in this record’s creation began when Jamison was logging some time as a philosophy student, somewhere among the Swiss Alps. In this contemplative mood and mode, he was overwhelmed by Chronicles of Narnia author C.S. Lewis’s 1938 novel, Out of the Silent Planet, a sci-fi tale about a man journeying to a new world and basically having his mind blown. After returning to B.C., Jamison started crafting a batch of tracks influenced partly by his reading and his contemplative time in Switzerland, and partly by the natural beauty of the mountains near his own home. The results were something considerably more celestial and atmospheric than anything found on the first Teen Daze recordings (which were certainly not lacking in atmosphere themselves).
It’s certainly easy to imagine A Silent Planet‘s six songs as the soundtrack to an interstellar journey. This is dream-pop with the emphasis on “dream,” with the dreamer having ascended light years beyond the beachy borders of Four More Years to a sparkling new constellation of sounds. These cuts are not devoid of vocals or conventional song structure, but that’s not Jamison’s main focus here — he’s clearly after setting a mood and making a visceral, emotional, and spiritual impact that bypasses linear logic and goes straight for the gut. He gets there by way of sweeping synth washes that ebb and flow with a cosmic kind of pace, vocals that swim in vast oceans of reverb that are wider and deeper than anything on his previous release, and cascades of gently chiming guitar that make Durutti Column sound like Titus Andronicus. And while it’s pretty much all about atmosphere, it’s not lacking in melody — the haunting vocal on “Harvest,” for instance, could have dropped in from some particularly spacey Fleet Foxes outtake. Ultimately, even if you don’t use A Silent Planet as your sonic roadmap to the stars, it should still provide plenty of solace for the soul.