Recording information: Brooklyn, NY (11/2015-04/2016); Lafayette, LA (11/2015-04/2016).
A Pink Sunset for No One is the follow-up to Fantastic Planet, the 2015 album from guitarist/filmmaker Sarah Lipstate's solo project Noveller. While the album contains all of the hallmarks of Lipstate's cinematic sound, such as gently drifting waves of droning guitars and slightly melancholy atmospheres, there seems to be more definition to her playing this time around, in some aspects. She hasn't exactly started writing pop songs, but at times there's a bit more of a propulsion to her compositions, and the melodies feel more outlined than before. It's hard to tell exactly what instruments or effects pedals she's using, since the liner notes don't reveal any of this information, but there are moments that sound like organs, and others that seem like sampled woodwinds (on closing track "Emergence"). On "Rituals," there are even shades of vocals peeking out from the detached but swinging rhythm and post-punk-influenced chords. The album's title track starts calmly, with chiming notes, before louder guitars burst out. While not quite as harshly distorted as some earlier Noveller works like Red Rainbows, the album demonstrates that Lipstate is still masterful at applying heavier guitar effects at exactly the right moments, elevating the lush, dreamy atmospheres to an exciting next level. Standout "Trails and Trials" does this as well, and her guitar playing sounds particularly close to early His Name Is Alive on this one. Without getting too gloomy, Lipstate creates haunted, mysterious atmospheres on tracks such as "Corridors," which could easily be the theme to the next big horror or sci-fi series. With her eighth proper solo album as Noveller, Lipstate continues to push her otherworldly sound in fascinating new directions. ~ Paul Simpson
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