Boomkat Product Review:
Swiftly following their arresting Digitalis debut, Portland, Oregon's The Slaves turn out this radiant epic on the ever intriguing Helen Scarsdale Agency. 'Ocean On Ocean' brings their keening shoegaze influences to the fore, vocalist Barbara Kinzle invoking the vocal spirits of MBV, Julee Cruise and AC Marias against a soul-washing churn of magnificent harmonic distortion, unfathomably vast white noise sculpture and freefall synth ambience. Jon Porras ov Barn Owl first introduced Helen Scarsdale Agency to The Slaves, and poetically sums up the album thusly: "A shadow moves beneath the water. Ocean On Ocean: two abysmal surfaces echoing into one another. Mutually reflecting an endless geologic score to a post-apocalyptic litany. Planes of ambivalence obliterated by light, voices eclipsed by devotional low end, synthesized stereography spiraling from an eternal core. Hovering above the weighted disposition of Doom and below the consolation of Shoegaze, the duo transmit a burdened grace that unfolds like a radiant mammal writhing in black water. We discover an object heavy and obtuse until placed into the sea. Lines of light swell and dissipate behind hushed lyrics. Feedback and whitenoise ebb and flow, the mammal's breath hollowed, tumbling below the surface. The hum offset and displaced by water that surrounds. Holographic accord materialized by invalidated hopefulness. We are unsure and skeptical of what this optimism holds. What lies waiting at the depths carved between these two reflective surfaces? Ocean On Ocean implies a tangible province exists between these mirrored planes. A staircase built from reflective feedback, extending horizontally into bliss. A bliss that is fleeting and simultaneously petrified in the present. A paradox realized by the duo's distillations of urgent ambiance and luminescent melancholy. Conjuring environments that billow out from instrumental restraint, Ocean On Ocean is an exercise in disciplined abstraction. Initially a cd-r, Ocean On Ocean reaches its supreme possibility today. An acoustic artifact cast into alchemical tangibility, these recordings are finally at peace on vinyl. Now the relics hidden between these Oceans can be crystallized."