Communions, "Flesh and Gore, Dream and Vapor"

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Communions, Flesh and Gore, Dream and Vapor
Heartdrop Records
★★★★☆

Copenhagen’s Communions first piqued my interest back in 2015 with their Communions EP, home to one of my favorite songs of that year, “Out of My World.” The song channeled so much of what I love about three different takes on pop music—Scandinavian pop, dreampop/shoegaze, and Brit Pop. While I have seen lots of write-ups of the band that comment on their “‘80s sound,” Communions has always felt more like an early ‘90s band to me—emerging from the lush synthy haze of the ‘80s into a world of jangled guitars, echoing the gorgeous mess of bands like Pulp, James, and Chapterhouse, and somehow making that mess their own.

Flesh and Gore, Dream and Vapor only seems to solidify my take on Communions, as the EP opens with a song that wouldn’t have felt out of place on Chapterhouse’s Whirlpool, and is followed up with “Two Worlds,” which captures so much of the cautious beauty of the artsier, dreamier guitar pop of the ‘90s (with lovely echoes of James). And having kicked off the record in the best way possible, Flesh and Gore continues to plumb the depths of memory to create a gorgeous contemporary pop release.

“Out of My World” felt like it captured the morning after meeting an incomparable person on a boozy odyssey the night before—”No boy or girl has made me feel the same”—expanding a personal, private moment in an anthem, the way authors often linger over moments of youthful revelation in bildungsromans. Flesh and Gore continues in the same vein, without feeling myopic or disconnected from a world growing increasingly darker and more confusing. The title track ruminates on the strangeness of being human—a fragile skeleton covered in meat with a mind filled with dreams and hopes, often incompatible. “Two Worlds” finds Martin Rehof singing “senseless people like you and I jump back and forth between existences,” between fantasies that push us through the nights, but seem strange, even bizarre to us in the light of day. The next two songs are called “Persona” and “Self-Rebellion,” hinting at the continued inward avenues tread by Communions on this EP. And these introspective explorations are buoyed and strengthened by the songwriting, some of the best of the band’s career so far.

If you’ve been needing a sunbleached dreampop EP in your life as we drudge through a cold and strange winter in this year of our Lord, 2019, then look no further. Communions got you.