Creators: Alex Vald; Michael J. Sheehy.
The debut studio album from ex-Dream City Film Club members Michael J. Sheehy and Alex Vald, United Sounds of Joy distills the bluesy cabaret goth-pop of the duo's former project into a more ambient-minded beast that invokes names like Tindersticks, Wild Beasts, Brian Eno, and Tom Odell. Both willfully cinematic and understated, much of the eponymous LP is spent monastically circling around melodies, gliding through open doors, and gazing longingly at imagined vistas. It's when Vald's sonic explorations and Sheehy's angelic voice embrace that the experimental nature of the project lives up to its lofty moniker. The billowy electro-pop gem "The Sun That Hides a Darker Star" and the like-minded "I Hear Her Call My Name" offer up the most immediate gratification, while the pulsating "Queen of the Seven Dials" impresses with its strident LED-like pulse and brooding, Peter Murphy-esque atmospherics. ~ James Christopher Monger