Album review: Mint Julep – ‘In A Deep and Dreamless Sleep’: kaleidoscopic and dreamy shoegaze pop

FOLLOWING on from 2019’s sumptuous release Stray Fantasies, the duo of Hollie and Keith Kenniff return with a kaleidoscopic and dreamy shoegaze pop venture that is at times an extension of the previous album and yet also a progression of the creative partnership.

From the album opener, “A Rising Sun”, this is not merely a collection of songs but a mood piece of contemplation – the sun of the track is breaking through the fuzzy fog we as a listener may find ourselves in as we cope with the mounting pressures of a global pandemic and the stresses upon a person’s mental health.

The rich harmonies between the two are on display on track two, “Black Maps“, with its pulsing, underlying bassline and gorgeous vocals by Hollie. This track is perhaps the most familiar song structure from the pair, yet as Keith Kenniff explains: “Our previous material tended to be structured largely in a verse/chorus setting, but these songs are more free flowing and through-composed with a focus on mood and texture.”

Hollie and Keith Kenniff of Mint Julep

The ability to alter your songwriting structure from one means to another allowing the moment or feeling to navigate the song is expressed throughout the album as a shapeshifting quality. Yet if pandemic has taught us anything, it is that we have to learn to adapt to thrive or move forward in the post-Covid world.

The tub-thumping stomp of “Lost” is followed by the swooning “Pulse” and this juxtaposition and confidence to go from loud to soft so effectively without losing identity is a credit to the twosome.

The whole album feels like a cwork from an alternative dimension or perhaps five minutes into the future; from the ethereal album cover featuring a multicoloured, mysterious shape dwelling near a cave – is it escaping or entering? – to the dreamy mood of psychedelia and imagination which runs the full gamut of spectra available.

At times sparse and minimalist, at other times highly emotive, this album has something for every electronica fan and covers a range of mystic synthesizers and guitars, creating an absorbing ambient collection of romantic dream pop.

In A Deep and Dreamless Sleep is out this Friday, March 19th, on Western Vinyl; follow Mint Julep on InstagramTwitter and Facebook.

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