A couple measures into the crisp guitar arpeggios and a warm sweep of mellotron, Melodie Stancato’s voice emerges in “Bloom,” carrying strange images with it. “When the earth forgets how to decay / And when the ghosts can't remember what to say,” she sings reflectively, unfurling a poetic landscape in a sometimes-fluid, sometimes-sharp melody whose lines bleed into the next. This is the world of Swoon Lake, the Brooklyn-based trio—Stancato, Paul Weintrob, and Lucinda Hearn—who aptly describe their music as “ghost folk.”
“Bloom,” more than any song on their last EP, Like Being In A Mouth, is ethereal and abstract, guided more by mood and tone than structure. The guitar arpeggio continues through the song, guiding it with a steady rhythm, but the synth underneath lends a dreamy echo as other instrumental voices dip in and out. A guitar woozily wahs, keys step back and forth, and for a short while, quiet percussion lends a faint heartbeat to the otherwise disembodied song. Though hazy, the melody remains clear enough to maintain momentum and coherence. The track muddies a bit when an organ enters in the middle, but it is brief and the song soon darts forward.
Preserving clarity throughout “Bloom” are Stancato’s lush vocals. Just as the instruments drift into ghostly echoes, her voice shifts and slides unexpectedly. Sometimes it's deep and sturdy, soulfully sliding into words; other times, it's as ethereal as the song, wandering up into higher registers where it meets beautiful harmonies. Though the vocals provide no clear path through "Bloom"'s imaginative setting, they serve as welcome companionship for meandering. Swoon Lake has given us a welcome place to get lost in.