The first full-length release from Haar (aka Jessie Howard, guitarist with Beccy Owen & The Refuge) starts as it ends, with street sounds heard from two stories up as the day comes to a close. It works brilliantly, an inspired move that gives the record a sense of setting and atmosphere, bringing with it a level of intimacy. As a whole, it’s a balm and a journey. It makes Skylight into a loop of that sweet spot between balmy late afternoons and quieter head-on-someone-elses-shoulder long-sleeved evenings.
With layers of gentle electric guitar, finger click/tap percussion, light reverb vocals and the hiss of home recording, Haar’s circular melodies fall between dream pop’s atmospherics and minimalist indie pop’s no-messing production. While these are the core sounds of Skylight, Haar dapples the record with elements of other genres like the swaying groove on “Jambiani,” the lean into synthwave on the title track and tentative piano haziness on “The Haugh.”
There’s also a swagger to Howard’s guitar lines, a confidence in the unexpected turns of melody; things other artists might save for a big reveal middle-eight she strews across this record. Ideas just seem to flow across songs as part of the wave of this record’s perfectly realized mood. There’s “Ever So”’s climbing chorus melody, the languid intercross of guitars on “Stretch Out” and the restraint and subtlety shown on tracks like “Vessels”. All of which provide an early Summer soundtrack, the warm analog pre-shoegaze haze of dusk. “The night is changing, rearranging all I see. As pixelated dusky evening covers me.”
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