Sigh is relatively new in the Vancouver scene, despite being a band made up of veterans: Shelby Vredik plays guitar, Jenn McDermid on drums, Morgan Ferrier on bass and Dorothy Neufeld on vocals. Released this past April, Images is their first record. Entirely self-produced, each song on Images is sweet and sharp at the same time — a very effective combination.
Whether in her previous project Swim Team or here on this record, Neufeld’s vocals are always striking. In Images, they sound close, intimate and quietly sung — a distinct contrast to the biting, heavily distorted guitars on the tracks. Vredik’s guitar playing is a highlight — her riffs are interesting and unexpected without being busy or crowded. Songs like “Hydra” feature catchy, washed out guitar melodies that occasionally become discordant. The same goes for the end of “Magpie.” This is in line with the overall feel of the album — a meditative, thoughtful record with deliberately jagged edges.
“Pretty Furious” opens with enveloping acoustic guitars and a hummable melody before the chord progression switches into something more melancholy and complex — alternating between pop-y major progressions and darker, more augmented chords. As with all the songs on this record, the guitar panning is very effective — Neufeld’s vocals ground each song as the shoe-gaze-y guitar tones come at you from all other angles.
The title track, “Images,” is another stand out — it’s simultaneously groovy and sad. Neufeld’s vocals are at their most clear as she sings of fading love. A wordless vocal hook finishes the song in a perfectly wistful way without being corny or ham fisted. It makes sense for this to be the album’s title track — the band feels at its most unified in this song and it’s easy to bask in its melancholy feeling.
Because each member of the band has been active within the Vancouver music community in their own right, Sigh synthesizes all of their experience into something that is more intimate and lilting than your average DIY rock record.