Hot off the presses over at the Ten Dollar Recording Company compound, Human Shaped Earth’s new single "Midnight Dream" rings in the new year a few weeks early, serving up a fresh helping of groovy, understated psych-pop with an eccentric twist. Human Shaped Earth’s studio arrangement crackles with the insular cool and tasteful melodics of so many other great releases on the Ten Dollar Recording Company label, and caps a full and active year for a maturing Portland label that’s putting out some seriously choice stuff on the regular.
Coming on easy with a poppy, sun-kissed guitar line, "Midnight Dream" rides in on the swell of gurgling subterranean bass and staccato back vocals, swirling in the eddies of some varied hand percussion, finger snaps, wood block, and the like. Taken in tandem, the jangled guitar and walking bass lend the song an oceanic feel, swaying gently in the current underneath siren vocals and sparse, singular keyboard lines. With lyric lines bouncing from dream to dream, Bryan Murdick’s vocals lilt and hop through the mix with a similar vastness, more visual suggestion than sustained narrative, furthering the feeling of being unconcernedly adrift. Taking the verse/chorus pop structure and stretching it out like taffy in the sun, familiar structural supports dawdle and linger just a little longer than one would expect, adding to the ethereal aesthetic. Bryan’s vocal and guitar work is compelling enough to lash the hull together and non-invasive enough so as to help meld all the components of "Midnight Dream" into one. Exiting stage left, this one is an easy sell to hit the ‘repeat’ button one more time. Nice, well parceled, and easy on the ears: the dream is serene, indeed.
Human Shaped Earth’s single "Midnight Dream" is out December 6, 2013 on Ten Dollar Recording Company. Look out in 2014 for more coming down the pipes from Bryan Mudrick. (Reed Burnam)