An absolute treasure of an album, CS + Kreme’s debut is an early contender for 2020’s best - a quietly seductive, deeply romantic and stealthily addictive long player in the most classic, enduring sense.
’Snoopy’ has got under our skin with its opiated elegance and spellbinding hooks over the precious few months we’ve had the pleasure of spending in its company. Through eight immaculate songs and instrumentals, the duo’s Conrad Standish and Sam Karmel expand on the stripped-down chamber-pop of their prized 2016 debut, absorbing aspects of baroque composition, ritualist psychedelia, spiritual jazz and avant classical into their patented framework of groggy 808 bass, slow-baked vocals and none-more-effective, hypnagogic atmospheres.
Where CS + Kreme’s debut 12” for Total Stasis irrevocably came to soundtrack a portion of our lives, especially its highlight ‘Devotion’, we suspect these coming years will be defined by the low lit allure and melancholy of ’Snoopy’. We’ve already lost count of the number of times it’s seduced us to the horizontal from the first strokes of warbly organ and Conrad’s velvet croon in ‘Saint’, only to find ourselves stunned by the hypnic tear-jerk of its denouement during the final stages of ‘Mount Warning’, and genuinely wondering how the fuck we got there/what time is it/where did everyone go?
Pay a little more sober attention to it, though, and you’ll discover the most tender, sensuous body of work inside, slipping from exquisite baroque trip hop in ‘Faun House’ to the divine, Coil-esque ritual prostration of ‘Blue Flu’, and enchanted neo-classical keys recalling Dominique Lawalrée in ‘Pussywhistle Tea’, whereas the groggy skronk of ‘The Whale’s Tail’ recalls a smudged and psilocybic instrumental echo of Leslie Winer’s downtown ennui, and ‘Slug’ could almost be a knackered Andy Stott with a dose of sleazy guilt.
We don’t say this often, but this album is practically perfect in every way. It’s like a therapist who calmly draws out your inner feelings and leaves you in floods of tears, feeling cathartic but bruised. And it may come as little surprise that CS + Kreme are intimately linked to HTRK, whose Jonnine Standish also supplies vocals secreted inside (...be kind to animals, aye), and with whom they share a deep musical pathos. If you’re still reading, you’re evidently intrigued, and we implore you to follow thru and cop the most affective album you’ll hear in 2020. We’d be very happily surprised if anyone surpasses this slab.
100% must check.