Seated upright and barely conscious, my eyes battle a wave of fatigue one begrudgingly inherits after several hours of monotonous travel. With eyelids drooping and chin dipping, my ears faintly channel the sound of gears whirring conspicuously or perhaps even pleasantly. As distant musical notes take shape, a red glow blooms underneath my eyelids. My head bobs downward for the last time and with the subtle refrain of something between a snort and a snore, I’m jolted awake.
Dismayed with such a rash decision, my eyes reluctantly take in their surroundings. No one appears to be in the compartment. The row of seats to my left are awash in a barrage of sunlight; squinting and rotating my body toward the back of the train car I see the outline of a tunnel in the distance snuggled deep into the heart of a mountain. It had been easier in the dark. My skin rubs against the leather seat as I slide back into place and glancing to my right my whole body tenses as I discover there’s been someone watching the whole time: a little succulent in a cream yellow pot. After accepting its apology, I concede internally that it’s attractive and potentially worth adopting. When was the last time I could even take care of myself? Reaching for the window, I prop it open and welcome in the breeze along with a pillowy bass line and wonderfully despondent croon. Where was I? The landscape felt alien, but nonetheless beautiful in the late afternoon sun. Rummaging through my pants pocket, I pull out a single coin. Inspecting it closely, it reads “British West Africa” in a semi-circle with “1936” at the bottom. How long had I been in that tunnel? And most importantly, where was I headed? With an exhale and a shrug I attempt to dispel with past and future. Smiling at the plant, I say, “Yah, alright. Let’s find you some water.”
Thalab consists of two cousins: Oscar and Max Guardans. They are originally from Barcelona and now reside in London. According to their Facebook bio they share “blood, bro-love, and musical taste.” Their sound explores melancholy yet upbeat landscapes, as well as ruminative and somber ones that evolve into darker electronic experimentations (that’s where you’ll really hear the Caribou influence). Oscar’s vocals lend them a tender and vulnerable dimension that I’m excited to delve into when they release their debut EP Good Swim on February 28th via Juicebox Recordings.