A friend of mine in college used to have a large poster with a beach scene in her dorm room. She had insomnia, specifically due to negative thoughts that haunted her at night, so she cited this as the reason she was able to sleep. She gave the image a lot more credit than it probably deserved, but it did make her feel at peace. I suppose I’m simply more cynical than she ever was.
And perhaps the shredded poster in the album art for Low Pressure suggests that I Come To Shanghai feels the same way that I do. Their third LP, Low Pressure is a hypnotic psych rock odyssey, filled with melancholy and ennui. The record opens up with a gorgeous instrumental track, but what follows writhes with sugar-coated remorse and upbeat regrets. We are certainly in paradise, but here I question my reality for such beauty could not sustain itself. Could it?
Every track that lacks lyrics stands out for its sheer beauty. It is unmarred by the fragility of human nature, which makes me question my cynicism. “Buried in the Sound” takes an upward turn in the instrumentation, with synths and guitars dancing around wavering vocals similar to that of Peter Bjorn and John. Even “You’re My Way Home” is a fun jam, despite the minor chords threatening you at every turn. Towards the tail-end, once you’re deep into the imaginary lore of the album, “You’re Out of Your Mind” twists your reality again (and again, and again and again).
Is this paradise just a hallucination? Or just a bleaker side to reality?