Some people are in it for the money, some people are in it for the drugs. Andy Gonzales (ex-of Montreal, the Music Tapes, Mind Brains) is in it for the music. In a career of stylistic left-turns and singular talent, Vangelis Rides Again is the most singular, affecting record in the career of Marshmallow Coast, a brittle prog-pop wasteland that leaves the listener weeping and numb.
Everything sounds like it emerged from an empty late-night hotel lounge in decline, a dark sense of urgency delivered in a laid-back style. It’s the end of the world as seen through pharmaceutical gauze. It’s the most mysterious and moving record of an inscrutable career, a record as unique and warm and captivating as an unread suicide note at the bottom of a shoebox.
Vangelis Rides Again sounds like it was made in those early morning glacial hours, that Venn diagram of wakefulness and dreaming—or was it a nightmare, the most haunting time of the night, the most haunting time of your life. Album opener ‘Cash Out Hash Out’ combines new age synth and Buckingham guitar to stunning affect, a chilled celebration of escape.
On those psychedelic nights can we turn out the lights…
As a band that built their reputation on pop smarts and melodic strength, Andy Gonzales knows how to bring the hooks, but it’s the singing—the broken warmth of weak sunlight—that makes this the best record of his life. Album closer ‘Forever’ unfolds itself through slow Eno/Harmonia-like synths, but it’s the way he sings the lyric, the one word of the title inscrutably repeated over and over again, emotionally open in a way you just don’t hear these days, that breaks your heart, that brings you to your knees.