A trip back in time to about fifteen years ago confers universal enthusiasm – exaggeration – with hypnagogic pop. Meanwhile, names were invented, or evolved, to cram in new things – or more things – and chillwave or hauntology came to dominate the vocabulary. To some extent, even vaporwave had a place in this occupation, or evolution. All this apropos Lael Neale, emerged in the middle of the last decade with “I’ll Be Your Man”, an unusual first album from an artist in search of herself: naive folk of good ideas, but stuck to formulas of those who were in mismatches with Los Angeles. Recorded in 2019 and released in 2021, “Acquainted With Night” carries the emotion of an artist who found the muse or inspiration to reverse the convention of folk to hypnotic songs that carry in the memory through the filter of hypnagogic pop. Lael Neale transformed herself, charged the songs with optimism and took the idea of nostalgia that happens any and every moment as a poster idea.
The phenomenon did not happen by chance. Lael Neale felt the need to change, to muscle those songs beyond the folk clothes. He allied himself with Guy Blakeslee and the latter became a right-hand man who celebrates these ideas with the same enthusiasm. The song ideas extend to the music videos and all the imagery that accompanies the albums. It might have been casual fire, but the relationship was strengthened on “Star Eaters Delight”, the 2023 album recorded during the pandemic, with Neale out of Los Angeles and reuniting with his family farm in Virginia. This is the album he will present at ZDB, which will be out on 21st April and from which the songs “Faster Than Medicine”, “I Am The River” and “In Verona” have already been released, which share the same DNA as the previous album, but which better express – even visually, through the videos – this idea of Lael Neale searching the past, the memory, building granulated music with few resources and which appeals to essential principles of hypnagogic pop, such as the sensation of being connected to a time that was dormant in childhood. AS