Chicago duo Sima Cunningham and Macie Stewart (with Matt Carroll on beats and skins) return to the artistic fray with 'Fantasize Your Ghost'.

Showing that they are a group more than the some its ‘Parts’ (2018’s debut album) there’s a reassuringly, refreshingly gauzy, hazy, woozy 90s indie-stheitc on this album. Think Throwing Muse Kristin Hersh’s’ open-hearted and acknowledged cathartic confession-all schizophonica, her half-sister Tanya Donnelly’s delirious and imperious Belly-aching to the present day of St. Vincent’s hyper-reality theatricality. An ADHD 3D-HD-4AD evocation if you like.

Opener ‘Flood your gut’ is a wiry two-handed toing and froing, setting the tone for the album, the pair’s stitched-in-sync vocals coming and going, effortlessly bouncing off, pronouncing and announcing equally complementing and complimenting. The spindly stop-start guitars meet their comeuppance with an abrupt blockade as the words ‘Your own visions/not enough’ echo out and around. That’s you told.

‘Ghost’ is an electro-driven groover in the vein of Joy Division’s mechanistic grimscapes with the light’s glimmer-shimmer showing you the escape routes.

‘Spell it out’ is a slow-burning, folk-soul turning aside to a home-shirker, a down-at-heel good-for-nothing unnamed other whose inability to share the domestic burden is taking its toll: as piled dishes symbolise the pain of strain, the pleading line ‘there’s sixteen ways you’ve figured out to quickly kill my spirit’ articulating that disparity breeds c-o-n-t-e-m-p-t.

This is an album concerned with the philosophical parts of existence, the existential day-to-day minutiae that get you quickly down (and slowly up) and the homesick feeling of nostalgia (what is ‘home’ when/if you’re never ‘there’?) when you’re perennially on the road, on the go, too fast too slow with nary a second to think about tomorrow.

This is an album that deals with a life at the apex, the next decisions made the most decisive: whether it’s the not being able to ‘go back’ of ‘The Limit’, the glitchy-twitchy wordless ‘Sturgeon Moon’ or the metronomic psycho-dramatic ‘3 2 4 3’ that addresses the daily personality crisis of navigating forwards from yesterday’s shackles: ‘looked in the mirror the other day, caught my reflection, my mind had moved a different way’.

Closer the country-charmed ‘After all’ seems to suggest that at the end of the day, for all the faultlines and booby-traps of enduring life/love, that you just need to ‘seek your cocoon’, what, where or whomever that might be.

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