Since their inception in 2008, Beijing alchemists Dear Eloise have issued a steady stream of releases from their home studio that have been well-received by fans and critics alike despite shying away from performing live (they do not) and courting the media (they do not do that, either), instead quietly giving flight to their indelible fuzz-soaked concoctions and letting them speak for themselves.
“The Winter That Disappeared,” the duo’s fourth 7” on tenzenmen (and seventh release overall), is a departure from the playful shoegaze-influenced pop purity of their earlier work, tacking down a darker path with two self-produced cuts pressed on emerald-green vinyl.
“Vanishing Winter,” the A-side, forcefully announces itself with multi-instrumentalist Yang Haisong’s rhythmic ice-brittle guitar anchored by a trotting bass. In the background, a second unleashed guitar taps out bright arpeggios and Sun Xia’s disembodied ethereal voice rises and falls—nowhere and everywhere. And that ever-present fuzz glows like banked coals.
Behind the omniscient crackling and hissing like crossed wires from a supernatural radio transmission, the simple chord progressions and ghostlike vocals of the B-side, “The Place in White Light,” attempt to penetrate the dissonant wall like green springtime shoots. But they don’t—the static thickens and grows increasingly anxious before the rhythm section, a dirgelike bassline and percussive fills, are abruptly swallowed and extinguished like a candle snuffed by an unworldly presence.