In dreams we fixate on objects, on images we cannot directly translate symbolic meaning from. We are not disturbed by this until we awake, frantically scrambling to fit together dissonant pieces. Bubble, by Seattle’s iji , released on Team Love Records (Conor Oberst of Bright Eyes) provides us the sensation of dream-like fascination. In the throes of this album, erratic and soothing all at once, we embark on a charmingly bizarre journey. It’s jangly pop, with a Mac DeMarco-esque flair, mixed with eclectic instrumentation, lush saxophone solos, and lyrical ambiguity.
The first two tracks, “What’s Real” and “Free Screening” reflect on the observer and the observed. The songs describe a cartoon world, stretched back and forth between reality and its imitators, and the accidental slippage between the two. These are followed by “Wild Music,” soft lilting guitar, topped by self assured vocals, evoking something like what previous generations imagined the world would be like in this millennium, quiet dramas of love and friendship playing themselves out on the moon or Mars. It builds to a heavy crescendo, the lyrical charms of “I wanna play the saxophone/in your band/in your band”, echoing beautifully with love. “Orange Peel Moniker” shifts into a technicolor suburban landscape, a rhythmic and energetic tribute to the malleability of everyday images. In contrast, “Notice of Proposed Land Use Action” has the endearing solemnity of a middle school slow dance, depicting the phenomena of decay and growth. Wryly, it’s progression by “Machines tearing houses/ like they just don’t care.”
Listening to this album is like looking off the edge of a cloud, provoking an endless sense of wonder as well as calming disengagement with the minutiae of the world below. It’s gorgeous, contemplative and thrilling. It presents a world to be adored,the hallmark of laying on your bed, pressed into the mattress, floored by your own thoughts.