In 2021 they surprised with “Devil’s Rain”. A debut EP with five songs that created an interesting connection between Cocteau Twins and the Grouper of the first records. It’s not that it hadn’t been thought of before, in other moments of the last decade and a half, but the sparse calm of songs like “Adelaide” or the homonymous theme aroused different, new sensations. The debut album was not long in coming, and “Hyaline” (2022) confirmed suspicions. But it also revealed something else: Ohio-born, classically trained Maria BC was clutching tooth and nail the euphoric restraint of “Spirit Of Eden”.
Lacking experience, true, you can hear something of Mark Hollis in her voice, which overlays that good Cocteau Twins lack of clarity. But she makes up for inexperience with wit and cool to match classical training to experimental pop. The Grouper elements, as it were, still stuck around. If before, on the EP, there were hints of dream pop, “Hyaline” has rightly distorted the thing towards paths more linked to post-rock: mathematical guitars, suspended in some idea of what will happen. And there dwells the ghost of Hollis, there is something in Maria BC’s voice that both disturbs and enchants, an echo of something that seems not to have existed. The space between the words, the way she controls time and unravels its candor makes one think often of “I Believe In You”. He reverse-engineered that apotheotic Talk Talk moment and studied it over the course of an entire album. Time will tell where she pulls this idea of sound. For now, one likes the idea of “containment euphoria” as a forewarning of a revival to come. It’s not that dream pop has ever left the scene, but in these terms it’s refreshing. AS