Review by Kent Manthie
Hailing from Athens, GA, Pacific UV is a quartet of space-rock, shoegazing, bliss-pop, ready, on May 14 to release their fourth album, After the Dream You Are Awake. The nine song CD is an atmospheric ride around white fluffy clouds. The ride starts off with the amazing “24 Frames”, a swirling whirligig which starts out with a melange of synthesizers and drum programming, which quickly quiets down for the opening lyrics and then engineer the full frontal electronic assault to mesh with the lush lyrics.
The whole album has this whole body of work which remind one of heroes of old such as Stephin Merritts’ Magnetic Fields, Ultravox, et al; giants of the oeuvre known as “New Wave”, except that pacificUV has managed to put their own selves into, body and soul.
The first cut, “24 Frames” is a great way to start off the album. A great overture of a sweet, textured electronic wave of blissful, lush trances. Another fabulous track is their great cover of Billy Idol’s great departure from his faux-punk genre, “Eyes Without a Face”. It was a hauntingly beautiful song when Billy did it back in the 80s (the other song that fit into that same genre-busting of Idol was the tiny bit edgier “Flesh for Fantasy”. But pacificUV manage to make it their own song. No middle bridge where he jumps out of his velvet straitjacket for a moment to sing about his psychedelic fantasy, where he gets a chance to flash that trademark snarl of his and guitarist Steve Stevens gets to get in some screaming licks. Their version is a sedate, plush and spaced-out version which nevertheless doesn’t stray from the haunting imagery envisioned by the original.
PacificUV’s been around for some time now – in 1998 the original lineup was formed in Athens, GA and consisted of Howard Hudson, Clay Jordan and Lucas Jensen. Their full-length debut CD was entitled Longplay1 but it was subsequently eponymously retitled and released on WARM Recordings in 2002. After an extensive tour after the release of Longplay1, the band actually dissolved: Clay Jordan relocated to Portland, OR and with the help of Kevin Davis, Jesse Robert W., Mike Erwin and Matt Kline managed to revamp the band and soon after, an EP was released; a 4-song EP released on WARM Recordings. The EP contained 3 original tracks as well as a remix of “LAPD”: “LAPD v NYPD”.
It took a while, but finally, in 2008 we heard from pacificUV again, when they recruited a second vocalist, Carolyn Berk, formerly of Lovers. With the new lineup ready to go, Longplay2 was the result of the long-awaited follow-up to their debut full-length. In late 2011 pacificUV relocated to Athens, GA, where, in January, 2012, they released their third full-length CD, Weekends which featured several guest appearances from other Athens-based bands, including B.P. Helium from of Montreal.
Weekends found pacificUV embracing a more melodic, electronic style while simultaneously staying with the not-incongruous at all “opulent, ethereal” production for which they are best known. But if you think about it, adding a bit more electronics into the mix seems to only make the space-drawn, ethereal waves in the music that much more hypnotic.
Well, now it’s mid-2013 and pacificUV are just about to release their fourth full-length CD, After The Dream You Are Awake, which hits the street May 14th. I think by this point the band has integrated their lush, dreamy sounds perfectly with cold, hard electronic effluvia very well; in fact, tracks such as the instrumental, “Run” has an almost Classical-type sound to it. Instead of an orchestra, though, the merging of the synthesizers create a symphony of future sounds which meld perfectly down into sparse, quiet ending that then goes into the beautiful dreamscape of “American Lovers”.
The closer of After the Dream… is “I Wanna Be You”, which is a quiet but layered goldmine of echoing, harmonic blissfully timeless lushness of Brian Eno.
Take a ride with pacificUV – they will fly you up to the curves of the ionosphere and safely back again in a vehicle of ephemeral, lush flowers. – KM.