The music of Theresa Stroetges (Golden Diskó Ship) is beautiful, beguiling and bold. Why can’t more pop music be like this? Simultaneously more accessible and intricate than 2012’s Prehistoric Dance Party, her latest work cements her reputation as a dynamic composer. The “one girl orchestra” does it her way, and her talent pours from these grooves. Invisible Bonfire is lush and intimate: complex in design and personal in nature.
While Prehistoric Dance Party included one obvious single (“Girl in a Slower Ghostship”) among a host of pleasing concoctions, Invisible Bonfire works better as a full album. After a few plays, potential singles begin to stand out; after a few more, one realizes that nearly every track has a sneaky sensibility, with at least one segment that works its way into the subconscious: the late guitar riff of “these thoughts will never take shape” (4:44), the onomatopoeia of “movie theatre”, the chorus of “say goodbye to this island – over and out”. Invisible Bonfire also features an increased use of stereo effects: voices, drums, and footsteps wander from speaker to speaker like nomads. The opening track sets the stage with a single multi-tracked line: echoed, harmonized, distorted. Stroetges often uses her voice in this way: another instrument in the mix, albeit the most alluring. Whenever she switches from singer to siren, one receives her voice as a stringed instrument. Invisible Bonfire also yields deeper layers than its predecessor, both physical and emotional. The vocal timbre of “fake horse” (again a single line) is reminiscent of Lori Carson’s early work with The Golden Palominos: fragile and broken, yet still singing.
The eight-minute “little stream” is a highlight of an album filled with highlights. A steady beat is joined by unsteady electronics and a clear sense of propulsion. Trancelike in nature, the extended track builds patiently to a blur of beeps and beats. An earlier version has been circulating on Vimeo for nearly a year, but this remastered version offers increased crispness that rests atop the watery sounds like leaves in the restful stream of the video. Those looking for a single will likely find it in the aforementioned “say goodbye to this island – over and out”, whose sparse lyrics include references applicable to summer or winter’s end. “new year – under the wave” is an ode to January, backed by the birds of spring, making this an album for all seasons, as specific as a calendar yet as timeless as an invisible bonfire. By the end, all contradictions have been smoothed, leaving a single indelible impression: Golden Diskó Ship has her own voice, and it’s worth remembering. (Richard Allen)
Release date: 24 November