[NIGHTPLAY] Litanic Mask certainly knows how to create and sustain a mood throughout an album. I put the duo's self-titled record on repeat for a few hours and was surprised at how often it moved from the end back to the beginning without me even noticing.
That's both a compliment and a detriment. The atmosphere is great, capturing the same synthetic, smoky vibe popularized by Zola Jesus and the xx. Yet it left me with few melodies I could call up in my mental jukebox. It all came back as a steely gray wash of processed beats and ghostly vocals.
The person who suffers most from this is singer Kenna Jean. On those rare occasions when post-production effects don't obscure it, such as the moody centerpiece "Kabuki," the frail beauty of her voice quickly takes hold of your senses.
What does stick are those little moments Jean and her musical partner, Mark Burden, provide: the fluttering stabs of guitar in "Hologram"; the way the drumbeat for "Leather Mask" sounds like it's being swiped aside. Consistency is a fine thing to attain, but it renders the album the perfect soundtrack for heavy-lidded, late-night activities rather than music to command one's full attention.
SEE IT: Litanic Mask plays Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi Ave., with the Miracles Club and Midnight Magic on Wednesday, Oct. 31. 9 pm. $10 advance, $12 day of show. 21+.