Strata Florida – Achilles

The record label 4AD has sound tracked most of my life. From bands such as Pixies, Cocteau Twins and Lush I learned there was so much more to music than the dross in the Top 10. It was from this stable that Swallow emerged releasing their landmark album Blow to wide critical acclaim in 1992. I played that album until it wore out my CD player.

Louise Trehy was once half of Swallow. After two exceptional albums together, Swallow broke up in 1994. Trehy walked away from music and left London for a self-sufficient life in rural Wales.

She returned to music after 20 years after meeting Peter Pavli (High Tide, Robert Calvert, Third Ear Band, Annette Peacock) at their local choir. They started to work together and over the next few years released two stunning albums.

In 2019 Mike Mason, the other half of Swallow, and Louise were in contact to sort out publishing permissions for a Swallow sample to be used by The Avalanches for a song to appear on their 2020 album We Will Always Love You. The song never appeared on that album but the relationship between Mike and Louise that had ended back in 1994 was mended.

Mike recorded and produced Strata Florida’s new music at his studio in mid-Wales, and also contributed by playing keyboards and programming the drums.

The two tracks from those sessions are now out in the form of ‘Achilles’ and ‘Ghost’.

‘Achilles’ is a song based around that signature gaze bass sound we all know and love. Louise sings of times ancient and forgotten. Hearing that voice again. Hearing that voice in this song. It’s really very special indeed. The song ebbs and flows and builds to a really satisfying finish. If you aren’t reaching for the play button to listen again, I’ll eat my jumper.

Much like ‘Achilles’ the second track ‘Ghost’ centres around the dancing bassline conjured by Pavli. There something comforting and familiar in his playing style which immediately made me warm to the track. That only compounds when Trehy’s trademark breathy vocals kick in. Love lost and the aftermath is the theme here but, all in all, the feeling you are left with is one of euphoria.

These tracks are available now on the groups Bandcamp in digital format as well as a now sold out, limited-edition box art cassette created by Louise herself.

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