Joshua Medina & Paurl Walsh
Vault of Angels [LP; Debacle]

The first “proper” album from Pacific Northwestern duo Joshua Medina and Paurl Walsh goes deeper into the psychedelic folk first dabbled upon on last year’s self-titled cassette. I hate to (re)visit the PNW through music, because it’s best if everyone believes it’s just full of Macklemore haircuts and Fleet Foxes beards. I struggled to see the “fringe” music of the Washington and Oregon get the same due as contemporary movements in California as well as the east coast. But it’s hard to call Vault of Angels fringe, or even experimental, considering its shrouded the mysticism and secrecy often associated with the sleepy hamlets and mountain villages of its authors’ locale. Which very much mirrors the same sort of British eclecticism of the late 60s and early 70s that first birthed psychedelic folk. Of course, Medina and Walsh are very much of the now, but that Vault of Angels ticks off the same pleasures as the appendix of artists in the book Seasons They Change makes it an even stronger statement of the surprises the genre (and the latitude) have in store. This is not a sleepy album, transfiguring its way through modern drone interpretations, raga testimonials, and cultish hymnals. It’s not really a cohesive statement in terms of subject and flow, but it’s a continuation of a twosome growing to appreciate each other’s strengths while pushing their own boundaries, which is exactly why psychedelic folk is such a lazy catch-all. I hesitated bringing it up, but much like any connotative phrase, the feeling and emotion it will invoke in a certain audience is what this piece needs to get you to buy it. You’re likely sitting on a pile of old Devendra Banhart and Vetiver records, wondering what happened? That evolution — along with a steady streak of synth and metal-tinged outreach — is here, my friends. It can be 2016 (well, let’s skip ahead to ‘17 and forget this year) rather than 2007. It does get better (well, again, once we skip ahead a few years). Let Medina and Walsh prove that point, and listen as two youngsters grow musically while conjuring the good feels of a region and sound that is needed now more than ever.

Links: Debacle


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