A Furnace, A Fire
You may know Brittney Rand as half of the local duo Mu, along with Francesca Belcourt. We haven’t heard much from Mu lately, but the act made a splash a couple of years ago with its gauzy electro-dream sound, which I described in a 2016 feature as “darkwave’s pastel-clad sibling”. Rand and Belcourt, I wrote, create “songs of cotton-candy-cloud ethereality, with heaven-sent vocal harmonies and pillowy synths”.
The music Rand is making now as Cherrie Laurel, as heard on her new six-song EP A Furnace, a Fire, isn’t exactly worlds away from that aesthetic. It is, if anything, a more refined version of Mu’s ethereal synth music. It’s more immediate-sounding, darker, and more brooding.
Rand has, one suspects, been listening to a lot of Fever Ray. (Or maybe the Knife. Probably both.) Her vocal delivery on “A Little Noise” and “Alkaline” is eerily reminiscent of Karin Dreijer’s.
“Pleases Me” and “Love Song”, on the other hand, find Cherrie Laurel exploring pop songcraft in a way that is entirely Rand’s own. The melodies are gorgeous and the production is seamless and enveloping. There’s something haunting about the whole thing, a lingering aura of melancholic nostalgia that’s hard to shake even after the EP ends. If you’re anything like me, that’s when you’ll hit Play again.