As Bandcamp’s bedroom pop scene slowly begins to buff out its cozy lo-fi scratches and trap innovators like Denzel Curry cake dark, grimy distortion onto their reverby vocals and taut, minimal beats, it’s no surprise that the two genres would cross latitudinal paths in late 2k15. Haloed, the debut effort of Maryland duo High Bloom, resides almost directly on this point of intersection, draping spacious, Atlanta-inspired percussion in a droopy cardigan of keyboard drones and shoegazey guitar squalls. Opening cut “Protect Me” puts a delicate twist on the reversed gusts of piano that haunt Drake’s “Furthest Thing”, adorning the ambience with crystalline pluckings and whispered vocals that are at times buried under a layer of grainy fuzz that recalls Travi$ Scott’s hazier textures.
“Seeing You” slap-chops vocal samples pitched up to Hemsworth-ian heights to build depth of emotion against the moody loops of reverb-soaked dream debris that flood its production. It’s the tape’s most addictive and most idea-dense track, venturing from a formless dronescape remniscient of Grimes’ earliest material into a groovy, 808-heavy take on late 90s twee-pop: growling basslines pair perfectly with a sing-song chorus. Also worth extra attention is the EP’s title tune, coy in its catchiness. A creamy keyboard melody repeats ad nauseam, swirling and melting into an ice cream soup of candied harmony – syrupy to the touch, sugary to the taste and satisfying to the ear. Haloed is as sweet and morose as the memory of Milky Way bar you regret eating and as frosty and meditative as the winter’s walk to Walgreen’s to buy it. Beautiful, nostalgic shoegazery in the vein of Cocteau Twins.