Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Watercolor Ghost Town

Posted By on Wed, Jun 17, 2009 at 12:00 AM

Anyone remember Ether Aura? Between 2004 and '07, that band, formed by local music vet Tony Hamera and angel-voiced singer Kate Hinote, were self-described as the "premier dreampop outfit in Detroit." (A quick glance at Wikipedia says dreampop "originated in Britain in the mid-1980s, when bands like the Cocteau Twins, etc., began fusing post-punk and ethereal experiments into bittersweet pop melodies. …" In other words, it's a bullshit sub-sub-sub-genre tag.) 

Nevertheless, Ether Aura made waves nationwide, thanks to the layers of orchestral and intricate sweetness that made its two albums trippy treats. Apparently, things weren't as sweet in the Ether Aura camp, however, and the band splintered. Fortunately for us, Hamera and Hinote have remained BFFs, although they've opted to start fresh and create a whole new project. 

The duo may hate me for saying this, but if Watercolor Ghost Town had the name "Ether Aura" on its sleeve, nobody except their ousted bandmates would question it. But this is a genuinely beautiful and touching piece of work, from the opening title track to the melancholy "Helpless and Hopeless" album closer. Hinote's voice remains note perfect and goose bump-inducing throughout; the musicianship is finely executed and lovingly arranged. Frankly, if they keep releasing albums like this, the dreamy twosome can call themselves whatever they want!


The Blueflowers play Sunday, July 5, as part of Comerica Cityfest in Detroit's New Center. For more info, see newcenter.com/cityfest.

Brett Callwood writes about music for Metro Times. Send comments to letters@metrotimes.com.

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