words: Jordan Gorsuch
New York’s Crying made their start by fusing unlikely elements of twee pop and chiptune into a polished, and endlessly entertaining collection of songs on their double EP Get Olde / Second Wind. Their latest album abandons the overt Gameboy-style synth melodies for raucous guitars and warbling synths that fuel one of 2016’s most colorful albums. Beyond the Fleeting Gales channels 70s-prog-rock in title and spirit, utilizing the era’s proclivity for overt and gnarly guitar leads while maintaining modern pop-sensibilities. The cheese-factor of their primary influences for the record are thankfully turned down – making for an album that is equal parts gleefully fun, and earnestly revealing.
“Well and Spring” is the album’s first window into the more delicate, subtle energy that Crying has captured with their metamorphosis. It’s a departure from the arena-sized power pop that precedes it, dripping with atmosphere and moody bass lines. “Close every one, lest you should spend your whole life searching for them,” lead singer Elaiza Santos hauntingly sings over the brooding soundscape swirling beneath. A running motif on the album is the idea of shutting out the past at all costs; history will chew you up with a continuous refrain of the best and worst aspects of your life. Crying is moving past their previous releases, searching for a path forward, not basking in halcyon days.
This trend of attempting to move forward continues on “A Sudden Gust,” a boisterous counterpart to its partner track. “So, I began to walk and soon discovered, I had recovered steps I’d already made and the bridge let me advance in the offering of a new chance,” Santos sings as sweet synths shuffle over distorted-staccato guitar lines. This deus-ex-machina in the form of the bridge returns with the imagery of a door in the sweetly schizophrenic cut, “There Was a Door.” Santos settles into a flow reminiscent to rapping as she details a precarious situation: “Will he look? Must I always come and go in distress? I forget – I can’t escape behind the shape of my chest.” Piano flourishes blend with operatic guitar leads and grandiose drums as the song bounces from multiple set pieces and instrumental cues. The narrator compares their self to a body of water, wishing to feel free of judgment and hostility. “Just when I thought I had run into a standstill…How suddenly there was a door!” Santos exclaims as a last-minute glimmer of hope transforms into a thrilling guitar-led climax.
For every jolt of unhindered instrumental magnificence (the rousing “Patriot”) there is a fiery and infectious pop-rock classic (the untouchable single “Revive”) or an enigmatic, minor-key ballad (“Children of the Wind”). Crying’s new album is successful because the trio are not afraid to play with different styles that stand in contrast to their bread n’ butter pop-sensibilities. A plethora of moods, sonic textures, and vocal styles culminate in one of the most fulfilling listening experiences of the year. For all the sonic diversity, there is an undercurrent of lyrical content that seems to suggest a mythical tale of sorts. It certainly has the tappings of a myth: angelic figures, mystical bodies of water, godly warnings, and redemptive conclusions. The subject of water itself crops up on almost every song – water is cleansing, pure, and ever-shifting. The band leapt into an unknown expanse of dark water and came out the other side reborn.