Distance is relative. Ten years ago, Ben Gibbard and Jimmy Tamborello released an album called Give Up that they made by sending tapes back and forth in the mail. This month that side project—the Postal Service—played live in the state of Washington for the first time in nine years, headlining the Sasquatch! Music Festival. So it seems appropriate that the best local album of the month was constructed in similar means. We Are Loud Whispers’ debut electropop album Suchness was assembled via email exchanges between Seattleite singer Sonya Westcott (Arthur & Yu) and Japanese musician Ayumu Haitani (4 Bonjour’s Parties), despite the pair not seeing each other in person since 2007. The result is a collection peaceful pop tunes that mixes feelings of intimacy and distance.
Stitched together over the expanse of the Pacific Ocean, Suchness is one of the most laid back and inviting electopop albums out there. Haitani builds backing compositions made of electronic blips and beeps, bells, bursts of gentle guitar, while Westcott—who has always been a master of gently cooed vocals—delivers lines with a cheerful tone. The songs excel at transitioning from minimalist noise experiments to fully fleshed out, nearly orchestral soundscapes. Most of the tracks capture a relaxed, free-flowing vibe, but We Are Loud Whispers showcases the ability to go up-tempo on songs like the catchy “Modern World.” Fittingly, the Postal Service does play a role on Suchness, as Tamborello trades vocals with Westcott on the lovely “Glossolaia.”
While Suchness was composed on separate continents, it never seems impersonal. In a world that often feels overrun by the noise of modern technology, digital pen pals Westcott and Haitani have created an album to soothe the soul.