Let’s close out the year with some headphone music.
You know what I mean by that. Shelf Life is the third record from Mexico City-based bedroom folk duo of vocalist/writer Juliette Rapp and songwriter Chris Marks, aka Permanent Vacation. It’s a sort of surrealist meditation on the world, told thru a hazy sci-fi film playing on a busted tv. Juliette’s vocals are cool and mesmerizing, and the music is often so spacey and airy and perfectly placed that you barely notice it – or the details buried within and flowing around – it’s a complex tapestries of emotions and poetry, again, best-served with a close, intimate listen (on tape, if you will).
The band’s sound has done quite a bit of exploration in their short existence. Indie folk and bedroom pop are comfortable touchstones for the bulk of their first two records, but there’s always been a more experimental undertone pulling at their songs – you can hear it strongest in this record, with Juliette’s vocals most notably stretching and expanding thru space in unconventional (to pop) ways, sounding at once their most challenging and most comfortable. Even the sound has changed – there’s more space, more ambient tones, more rawness – you can hear the room, the city, everything in each song, all while the lyrics paint vivid pictures of some dystopian now, you know the one.
A quick aside – the band’s first two releases were with the venerable Z Tapes, and I was already a fan from that – so it was incredibly exciting and humbling when I started talking about working together with the band on this project.
So here we are, with the final release of 2022 coming at the oh-so-dangerous time for releases in the final month of the year – already mid-list season but you know what? This album wasn’t made for lists. It was made just for you. So take it, spend some time with it, and we’ll see you on the other side.