A road trip is one of the top to-do items for American youth. Ever since the automobile was invented, Americans have been drawn to traveling the open road to Anywheresville, USA.
But that lure captivates foreigners as well. For British dream pop duo Still Corners, Anywheresville is located somewhere in the southwestern United States where guitarist Greg Hughes grew up. “We found something out there in the desert,” said Hughes (via press release). “Something in the vast landscapes that went on forever.”
Noted for its desert noir sound, Still Corners still isn’t afraid to let its music build and drift like tumbleweeds on the band’s fifth album, The Last Exit. It’s refreshing on tracks like “White Sands,” where even lead singer Tessa Murray’s soothing vocals seem to actually accompany the hypnotic instrumentals and not the other way around. Murray almost sounds as if she’s wanting to get lost on purpose to see what instead finds her.
And while this album isn’t overtly nostalgic, there are effectual reminders that unrecognizable voids can wreak havoc on the soul (“Static”). “We’d been touring nonstop for years, but we were forced to pause everything [because of the global pandemic],” explains Murray (via press release). “We thought the album was finished but with the crisis found new inspiration and started writing again.”
Starting with “The Trip” (Strange Pleasures, 2013) and “The Message” (Slow Air, 2018), the enchanting title track concludes what the band calls its Road Trilogy. While much has already been discussed about the trilogy, it’s hard to imagine Still Corners not returning to this part of the world that seemingly provides them such grand inspiration. Hughes recalls it as “this idea that there’s this sort of mysticism in the landscape and we can disappear in that.”
The album’s highlight is the crossover Americana track “Mystery Road” that best encapsulates Still Corners’ allure–lush atmosphere and endless wonder.