Chrysalis, Nostalghia’s debut is a darkly atmospheric yet ethereal album. Roy Gnan’s alternately eerie and powerful instrumentation blends beautifully with Ciscandra Nostalghia’s amorphously changing vocals and surreally emotional lyrics. According to Ciscandra “you can hear the sound of a moth throughout the entire album. At one point it comes out of my mouth and you can hear it at the end flying into the sky”. It takes a couple listens but you can hear the moth weaving through some of the songs. Here’s a quick look at the album track by track.
Chrysalis- The album starts out as promised, with the sound of a moth’s wings. The song itself has a haunting echoing quality to it.
Homeostasis- This song is harsher, with heavier instrumentation and stuttering vocals. Oddly catchy, though it’s hard to tell exactly what you’re singing along to.
Stockholm Syndrome- A dark creeping number with lurking eerie paranoid lyrics: “Depend on nothing/my mother said/ Cuz all that loves you/will shoot you dead”.
Naked As A Hand- A simple riff anchors this song as Ciscandra sings like a horror film child. Ghostly and pretty but doesn’t stand out quite as much as its predecessors.
Cool for Chaos- The oddly gentle piano line in this one contrasts violently with the jarring banshee scream in the chorus. Interesting but will scare your neighbors if played too loud.
You & I- Centered around a riff reminiscent of music boxes, this track is innocent and childish with a good hook. It seems nearly like a normally saccharine love song until you listen to the lyrics. Its sweet but something about the way things are phrased [“That you do watch me out of the corners of/Your corneas, how they glow and glass”], makes it different and weird in a good way.
I am Robot Hear Me Glitch- This song is very simple and stripped down. It starts out slow but builds with rising anger into an one of my favorite hooks in the album: “I am robot/ hear me glitch/watch me tame/my inner bitch/I am robot/ hear me glitch/watch me cure/ the human itch”. Catchy as well as interesting and poignant.
Sunshiny Milk- Also stripped down, this song is upbeatly disturbing in a way that is reminiscent of Foster the People’s ‘Pumped Up Kicks’. It seems to be about killing someone because your crazy in love, or at least dreaming of it [“A danger to you with my new shiny gun/Pow! Pow! I love you/Pow! pow! it’s true/I’m fucked in the head/ but you know I love you.”]
Meek- Starting with industrial sounding bells, the track progresses into lyrics sang with such looseness they’re nearly incoherent until the unearthly chorus when they tighten up into lucidity. It’s a strong contrast to violent content [“My father shoots the gun/and I grow up in powder smoke”].
I’d Still Kill You- This song is almost story-like, told in a style that occupies the gray area of song, speech and poetry. This is broken up by the keening chorus and breakdown where female voices wail that they’d still kill you. One could almost see Tim Burton ghosts singing this song.
The End- The last track is pretty and stripped down but not quite as interesting as the previous numbers.
Chrysalis weaves a kind of introspectively haunting rock that is often hard to pull off without being rather cookie cutter or boring. But this album pulls it off beautifully. Definitely worth listening to, it is complex enough to give you something new every time you hear it. The album will drop on April 8th. I certainly plan on picking up a copy.