Let’s take a moment to recognize the longstanding greatness of Brief Candles. The Milwaukee-by-way-of-Peoria-Illinois shoegaze/dream-pop outfit has been a fixture in town for nearly 15 years, playing an untold number of shows and releasing an untold number of…well, okay, the band only has a handful of albums and EPs to its name. But that just makes each new Brief Candles release all the more exciting, all the more precious. The band’s newest, the full-length Retreater, is maybe its best yet.
Arriving a full four years after the excellent Newhouse EP, Retreater finds wife-and-husband team Jen Boniger and Kevin Dixon leading their band through 10 swirling, effects-laden, bittersweet tracks that pair perfectly with the gloomy fall weather. Opener “A Way Around” barrels ahead with a rolling drum beat before giving way to an ethereal chorus; “Appearances” approximates the sound of Yo La Tengo underwater; “Downstream” crashes and flails around knotty post-punk time changes; and closer “Mourning House” doubles as a summation of everything the band has done to this point. It’s a beautiful, gorgeously rendered album that’s both immediately accessible and tantalizingly out of reach. It was worth the wait.
Brief Candles will celebrate the release of Retreater Thursday, November 2 at Riverwest Public House. The free show begins at 9 p.m.