MJ Guider produce dreamy, reverb-heavy pop somewhere between Julia Holter, Grouper and the Cocteau Twins, putting them right at the heart of Kranky’s label aesthetic. Once the solo project of New Orleans songwriter Melissa Guion, the now fully-grown three-piece band land on the Chicago imprint with their debut album.
MJ Guider demonstrate just how versatile washed out textures can sound, interspersing slow, beat-based arrangements with seas of heavenly ambient harmonies. Often Guion’s silky voice gets buried under weighty, at times noisy reverb guitars – even the blissful piano arpeggios of ‘Former Future Beings’ are suppressed by them. But it’s a pleasant pressure, the kind that reasserts our place in this world, with the multiple harmonic layers still shimmering kaleidoscopicly through the density of the sound. It finds expression as much in the abrasive notes of ‘Surfacing First’ as in the epic ten minute long meditation of ‘Evencycle’, persistently repeating its 4/4 rhythm and vocal fragments, contemplating what it is all about.