Boomkat Product Review:
Housemates and collaborators in the early 1980s, Linda Smith and Nancy Andrews reconvene for the first time in almost 30 years on 'A Passing Cloud', a lo-fi pop marvel that'll appeal to anyone into The Cat's Miaow, Talulah Gosh or The Field Mice.
Smith and Andrews lived in a shared house in Baltimore back in 1983, collaborating with their housemates Elizabeth Downing and Peggy Blitzer on music that would be shelved when Smith and Blitzer relocated to New York City and formed The Woods. When her music was being picked over for Captured Tracks' 2020 retrospective "Till Another Time: 1988-1996", Smith came across a tape of recordings she'd made with Andrews in the '90s and was prompted to get in touch and propose a new project. 'A Passing Cloud' is the result of a creative back-and-forth that's been on the cards for over three decades, recorded during lockdown and inspired by the duo's witty feminist reinterpretations of Andrews' collection of pulp fiction books.
The duo would grab a phrase from the book titles or blurbs, and then use that to prompt songs that swerve from jangling lo-fi pop to homespun folk, rendering everything with the charming nonchalance of an era long gone. The title track is a statement of intent, waking up vintage-sounding structures with well-scrubbed contemporary techniques; it doesn't sound clean exactly, but its vision of lo-fi is peculiar. 'In the Darkness of Slumber' is ice cold and sensual meanwhile, with evocative field recordings sitting where percussion might usually be, and 'How Could I Know' skews disarming samples and eerie oscillations alongside bold strings and cracking vocals.