Every period of rock music grows some layer of moss or fuzz or glacial skin or foggy eye lids: blame it on the drugs, but it’s also the signal of a climax of the form. The progenitors are obvious: Velvet Underground may have gotten a head start on the perfect punk squall, My Bloody Valentine never stopped fucking that chicken, but in the cracks there are countless examples of perfect swacks, from Mission of Burma through Faith Healers, past half the Slumberland army, and now on to choice Atlas Sound tracks and the continuously growing militias of anonymous Garage Band bedroom bombers.
Sore Eros’ Second Chants may not be the crowning fuzz of our time, but it goes on a splendid dream pop tangent, tapping into that immortal vibe on the album’s first two tracks, “That Smile on Your Face” and “In My Heart”. Much of the album sounds blissful without being epic or enormous, slightly scatter-brained and seemingly unconcerned with grandeur: I’m certainly not trying to put a finger on its origins, which seem to fluctuate between tracks, without straying entirely from the dream pop idiom. The fact that Sore Eros is the solo baby of a member of Ariel Pink’s touring band helps explain, though.
More than anything else, Second Chants is a melancholy trip, buried halfway between twee’s shit eating grin and an ambient molasses stuck to the roof of your mouth. Buried on the second side, tracks like “Over and Over” are downright lackadaisical, and don’t seem interested in keeping up with the latent energy ready to burst at the album’s opening.
At this point, three-quarters through the LP, we drift far from any locus, towards the pretty light, summoning imagery of solar waves washing over vast, innocuous prairies. It’s a habitat a lot of people wouldn’t mind camping on for a few long days and nights. The big sky it evokes starts to suck like a vacuum, pulling out the sublime tension of “In My Heart” and funneling itself into the simple, unadorned “Whisper Me,” out into the exit music bird chirps of “Tightest Touch.”