Audio Mixer: Lauren Grubb ( Minipop).
Recording information: WHite Hole, San Francisco, CA.
From their music to their back-story, Chasms are a testament to the power of patience. After issuing several EPs in 2012 and 2013 that piqued the interest of fans of beautifully dark music ranging from shoegaze to industrial to drone and doom metal, the duo experienced setbacks -- including a hand injury suffered by singer/guitarist Jess Labrador -- that delayed the making of their first full-length. Fortunately, On the Legs of Love Purified is well worth the wait. Even more stately and all-encompassing than Labrador and bassist Shannon Madden's early work, the album's unhurried drama unfolds at exactly the speed it needs to, letting songs seep into listeners' ears. This is also some of the duo's richest-sounding music, with Labrador's full-throated yet clear vocals and commanding guitar used to maximum effect on songs like the heartbreaking standout "We'll Go." Here and on "Between the Eyes," where an aching violin melody moves from tender to tense, Chasms allow each moment to reverberate fully. It's an approach that yields very different results with "Come to Harm"'s clanging, slashing beats, which evoke an ancient battle as much as old-school industrial music. Though the heaviness of songs such as this and "Beyond Flesh" give Chasms' music an edge lacking in many other dream pop bands, the duo delivers gorgeous homages to the style's history on "Black Ice" and "More Love to Be Found," which recalls the spellbinding work of the Cocteau Twins and Beach House. It took Chasms a while to make On the Legs of Love Purified, but it's such an accomplished debut that they won't have to wait long until they're included in dream pop's upper echelons. ~ Heather Phares