Lead Me to the Glow (Tiny Human)
Reviewed by Greg Beets, Fri., Oct. 26, 2018
Though tangentially connected to a panoply of familiar pop tropes, Zorch co-conspirator Sam Chown's second album under the Shmu moniker lives in a headspace all its own. Garbled, spiraling melodies dance on the edge of wakefulness. From moment to moment, Lead Me to the Glow flashes between Shuggie Otis, Discipline-era King Crimson, and Tame Impala, abandoning well-trod neural pathways. The tribal synth hypnosis of "Hololeaps" sluices shopping mall soundtracks through fun house mirrors. "Wave" pulses on the fence between ambient luxuriation and Liquid Sky-style, retro-futuristic dystopia. If there's on-hold music in the afterlife, chances are it'll sound like "Your Favorite God." Berklee grad Chown plays almost all of the instruments, though a horn section featuring Grupo Fantasma's Mark "Speedy" Gonzales propels the title track's melding of mellow soul and sun-kissed psychedelia to ultra-vivid heights. In discombobulating decades of music history, this singular statement cuts and pastes its way toward a new frontier.