Emanating from the heart of Caen, France, The Memory Of Snow is Albin Wagener’s self-curated indie opus. Albin, best recognized from Overcast, weaves together threads of new wave, dream pop, soul-tinged blues, and post-punk, concocting an intoxicating auditory tapestry. Shaped by the profound influences of Depeche Mode, The The, Eyeless In Gaza, Tears For Fears, Slowdive, and The Sound, The Memory Of Snow crafts an unmatched atmosphere of sound with their debut album, ‘Home Is Where The Heart Aches.’
This collection brims with spectral echoes of the ’80s, rooted deep in the soulful trenches of ’90s alternative and trip-hop….yet it is consciously engineered to exude a contemporary sound, contemplative and keenly aware of its bedrock influences. Most of the tracks delve into deep themes such as addiction, environmental catastrophe, lust, disillusionment, and man’s inhumanity to man. There are three standout tracks for a deeply political and personal album, each with a cleverly edited video.
This sentiment is particularly palpable in ‘No Safe Place.’ Here, the lyrics speak of a growing disillusionment, an ache for better days stifled by stagnant circumstances. They paint a vivid image of a dystopian present, fueled by collective guilt and a nightmarish paralysis. Amid desperate attempts to ignore reality, a beacon of hope symbolized by the hilltop light is both blinding and devastating. The speaker grapples with impending doom and pervasive hopelessness. Haunted by the ghosts of unrealized dreams and ideals, the speaker confronts an eroded faith in higher powers.
In the end, the lyrics reveal a grim vision: a beast unchecked, emblematic of the dreadful outcome of unchanged ways, culminating in a chilling resignation to looming annihilation.
Interestingly, the video itself is an amalgamation of corporate stock footage, illustrating the very blandness of this particular apocalypse.
Earth Day follows suit with the collection of stock footage in its video, illustrating the ravages of climate change. Channeling INXS, The The, Midnight Oil and The Church, the lyrics express a profound disillusionment and despair as the speaker observes a world in decay. The irony of the wistful bounciness of the music is itself part of the message of denial. They experience a sense of powerless pride as they witness hopes and dreams dying, while fear permeates every aspect of life. The speaker observes their life shrinking, with everything poised to vanish as life’s difficulties escalate. The pervasive sentiment is of a world spiraling towards an apocalyptic end.
Simple Song moves more into Depeche Mode existential crisis territory: we hear a sincere confession from an ordinary man, set against a simplistic yet poignant melody. The song communicates universal experiences of fleeting hope, elusive desires, and the crushing reality of dreams slipping away like sand through fingers. The man perceives the world as a plain terrain where hope is granted only to be cruelly snatched away. He underlines the shared human condition, characterized by fear and a confusing maze of emotions, where survival becomes the ultimate goal. The man, claiming no wisdom, vision, or faith, reflects on his vulnerability and lack of direction.
Overall, while eclectic in its sonic palette, this album is magnificent, poignant, and deeply introspective.
Listen below, and order here.
Albin, best known in academic circles as an expert in discourse analysis, demonstrates through The Memory Of Snow that the realms of science and art are not mutually exclusive, but rather, can come together in a beautiful and evocative blend.
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