Believe You Me


Asthmatic Kitty Records, 2012

REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen


Helado Negro and Julianna Barwick, two accomplished songwriters in their own right, came together to form Ombre after a tour together in 2010. Though the two record individually on the same label, their work doesn't quite run parallel to each other. Negro dabbles mostly in Latin-influenced, folk ideas while Barwick makes use of endless looping and layering of her delicate voice. Together, the pair brings their respective skills and delivers a very dreamy, ambient, nearly spiritual listening experience. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

“Noche Brilla Pt. 1” starts things off and you immediately know that you're getting into a hazy, mellow disc. It's a very calming opener. Barwick's melodies are divine in their execution, while the laid-back guitars and subtle trumpets help set the mood. While there are plenty of electronic dream pop moments here, there are just as many experimental ideas employed, with each track featuring a variety of different instruments. “Dawning” relies on the harp, “Sense” works with pianos, and “The Nod” uses a variety of noisemakers from the vibraphone to the harmonium to an upright bass.

Barwick and Negro share vocal duties throughout. Barwick's voice is angelic, wispy, and occasionally soaked in reverb. Negro's pipes may not be as heavenly by comparison, but are smooth enough so as to complement Barwick well. For the most part, the duo fleshes out new sounds aside from their solo careers here, though in tracks like “Weight Those Words” you can hear traces of Negro's South American background coming through.

Though this won't be for everyone, those who truly like to immerse themselves into an album will appreciate the extraordinary amount of detail in these songs. Sometimes sounding cinematic, while other times resembling the soundtrack to a listless day when you just want to mull things over, the countless ideas fleshed out here are often awe-inspiring. Ultimately, Ombre finds a great balance between sparse and intricate, light and dark, abstract and straightforward.

Rating: B

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© 2012 Tom Haugen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Asthmatic Kitty Records, and is used for informational purposes only.