Album Review: Until The Ribbon Breaks release eponymous sophomore album [Album Review]

Album Review: Until The Ribbon Breaks release eponymous sophomore album [Album Review]
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Until The Ribbon Breaks
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Until The Ribbon Breaks
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Until The Ribbon Breaks, the alt-pop duo from Wales comprised of Pete Lawrie Winfield and Elliot Wall, have released their expansive sophmore album. The twelve track self-titled release is a kind of stream-of-consciousness revelation, discovered and molded by Winfield on the road to recovery from alcoholism. It was released last Friday from Kobalt Music Recordings. 



In a heartfelt letter to fans—or indeed anyone who may stumble upon this little gem of an album, Pete writes: 

I believe that any crisis of the soul is a detachment from your true self, the part of you that patiently sits behind all of the worry, all of the pain and discomfort and waits quietly for your return. So that was our aim, that’s what we set off to find. Some peace of mind, the same peace of mind we all start life with, in my case, long buried under the old, dead weight of fear, shame, and clear, strong liquor. 

If you have the time to read the full letter, you should. Serving as both mission statement for the future of Until The Ribbon Breaks and accompanying explanation to this second album, it details aspects of Pete's struggle and his recovery. It also details how bandmate Elliot Wall waited patiently and loyally for his friend's recovery. Waiting for someone to come back to you and themselves is no small feat and should not be skimmed over.

Ultimately—I've said it before and I'll say it again and again—an album's success should be measured on its cohesiveness as a collective whole as well as any one song's ability to stand alone, on its own merit. If this is the case, Until The Ribbon Breaks have struck gold. Moving seamlessly between light and dark, new and old, hurt and healing, the album has obvious highs: "Here Comes The Feeling" and "One Match" are irresistibly catchy and full of indie-pop production, but where "Here Comes the Feeling" is feathery and airborne, "One Match" is eerie and dark. Speaking on "Push Pull," Pete says:

A part of my recovery that I have been thus far reticent to talk about (for fear of sounding a little new age) was an incredibly profound experience with the Amazonian hallucinogenic medicine Ayahuasca. I won’t go into the details, but, for me it was a real turning point and a chance to see life from another perspective. A glimpse into something, somewhere else. "Push/Pull" was written directly afterwards. I wanted to write down immediately some of the words and the messages that seemed to kaleidoscope through my mind.

It's a pulsating, comprehensive musing on the sometimes too-broad topics of spirituality, greed, and capitalism. 

The album takes a moment to land. Collectively, the vocal, instrumentation, and production seem to become comfortable with themselves after the third song. Its upward trajectory only increases from track to track, and bleeds into its finale. Until The Ribbon Breaks begin their ending with "My Love," a lyrically stunning track that comes directly from the belly of both Pete and the female vocalist. It is all subdued guitar and building energy, bubbling forth and spilling out over the edge of the soul. This song truly showcases Pete's vocal ability, something he has shied away from in past releases. Finally, "Meru," which is more electronic than most tracks on the album, but manages to sit in a glorious sweet spot between For Emma era Bon Iver and 22, A Million. Fittingly, the final sung lyric on the album is "I'm still alive," rounding out the band's hope and humanism. 

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