Imagine having your own dream sequence, and being pulled into this ethereal haze, full of light but with dark visceral undertones. Atlanta-based dream pop band Mood Rings’ set at Cameo was a lot like that. There was so much dreaminess that a girl in a long, flowing white dressed stepped forward around the middle of the set and laid a bouquet of flowers on the stage. Then she slowly blended back into the crowd, and no one had any reaction. Things started to feel real surreal, like having a half-realized revelation interrupted by confusion. Mood Rings offered no extra explanation, with only a quick thanks between songs, and one quick plug about having a record available for sale that was shrugged off with a demure, “…anyway, here’s some more songs.”
Mood Rings began with a noise building, ambient intro, and proceeded to unfold into a series of textured arrangements. The band made sure to have as much reverb as possible on every element, and played a good share of songs off their debut full length, VPI Harmony, out now on Mexican Summer. With these songs, the five-piece have taken dream pop into the dreamy dark side, taking many queues from the best sounds of ’90s shoegaze. Along with the reverb-drenched everything, singer and guitarist William Fussell sang his vocals high but had them mixed low, so they were just one more fuzzy pretty layer that sounded pleasing but carried a profound longing.
“Pathos y Lagrimas” was up early in the set, with themes of isolation and love melted into a wistful and woozy oscillating tempo with the clever bassline from Chris Alley, and pierced with guitarist Tymb Gratz lending minimalist deep, piercing twangs. Mixing it up in tempo makes it bob and weave, a quality in several of their other songs as well. Newest single “The Line” carried it’s own weight, and felt like the peak of the set, full of synth swells and percussion with metronome precision. They ended on an aloof jam, with Fussell languidly taking the mic from the stand and speaking as if reciting poetry or chanting a spell while gaining feedback on his guitar. It might as well have been a sonic spell, as Mood Rings make music that sounds beautiful but also really messes with your head. It’s feeling for the unfeeling in augmented and diminished chords, the ones you can’t interpret but the ones you can’t shake. Mood Rings get you high but go deep.
Upcoming shows get posted on Mood Rings’ Facebook, and they tweet from time to time as well.