Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Kristina Esfandiari Is Now Miserable

After a warm reception to her 7-inch split with Grey Zine in 2013, Kristina Esfandiari has further refined her haunting and wistful soundscapes on a brand new 4-track EP that thunders along for about 15 minutes. The EP, Halloween Dream, underpins the artist's new brooding sense of purpose.

The result is a sound that is as epic as it is elegant, inviting you deep inside her powerful vocals and complicated mind. Compared to her times with Bay Area shoe gazers Whirr, Miserable very clearly gives Esfandiari a bigger canvas to paint in broad, unconfined strokes.

Halloween Dream EP is dark, haunting, and beautiful. 

Esfandiari gets her experimental legs under her early by opening with the Bell Jar, a two-minute sonic doom groove that feels light years longer than the time stamp suggests. It's marvelously dark and effortlessly channels her depressive infatuation with Sylvia Plath (figuratively if not intentionally).

Then it starts to slow with drawn-out layers of meditative anguish before shifting gears at the song's midpoint. From that moment on, Estandiari becomes considerably more frantic over a wall of pummeled drums. The track then continues to swell into an unforgettable roll until it reaches its climatic and caustic finish, leaving you unsettled and breathless.

Bell Jar tumbles into Orchid, which opens with a few well-placed guitar strums before erupting into another dramatic and gothic exposition. It too is dark and richly textured, hinting at the isolation Esfandiari said she felt while touring with Whirr. Working on songs like Orchid, she said, kept her sane.

The vocals are especially enchanting, smudged across the instrumental landscape until there isn't any certainty what she might have said or might have shared. The emotion, however, is unmistakeable. It's marginally hopeful and hypnotic despite the grimness of her predicament.

The next track, Spinning, is much more balanced, opening with her vocals and minimal guitar before breaking into something bigger and then falling back down into another regretful lullaby. If she had to sum up any of it, she might say this song, like the entire album, plays to the notion of giving too little, too late. It hasn't necessarily happened. But it feels like that might be the case.

The title track Halloween Dream closes out the EP. And although the track is among the steadiest compositions, it eventually becomes one of the biggest monsters on the EP. Originally meant to be stripped all the way down, Halloween Dream couldn't be contained and eventually grew into an amazingly masterful full band spectrum.

Overall, the most amazing takeaway from the album is the amount of confusion Esfandiari felt while writing the songs. At the time, she was having a constant battle in struggling to grasp at what she couldn't have, leaving her stressed out over a looming regret. It's painful and captured perfectly.

Recorded by Pat Hill, The Native Sound initially released the 4-track EP as a limited edition, hand-numbered Ultra Clear 7-inch with Gold Haze. The 7-inch was housed in a full-color, double-sided folder with a black inner sleeve and a poly bag.

Only friends played with her on the album because Esfandiari says it's too stressful to play with strangers. Among them all, she credits Pat Hill as successfully helping her get unstuck at times.

Halloween Dream By Miserable Moves 7.1 On The Liquid Hip Richter Scale. 

According to Esfandiari, the only thing better than a fuzzed up guitar is a loud fuzzed up guitar. She proves the point well enough on Halloween Dream, songwriting a storm of more than 7 inches of bliss.

You can find Halloween Dream by Miserable on Amazon. The EP is also available for download on iTunes. You can stay up to date with Esfandiari and Miserable on a newly populated Facebook page.
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