Constants - Pasiflora (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


Pasiflora (2012)

The Mylene Sheath

The passiflora, or passion flower, has been used in some circles to treat insomnia, hysteria and anxiety. No wonder Constants chose it as the title of their latest full-length (albeit misspelled as Pasiflora, but still). The group's new album veers towards warm shoegaze waters, creating a welcoming, dreamy atmosphere. The vocals are nearly whispered. The guitars so muddy I'm not even sure they're guitars. But somewhere between Jesu and M83, resides Pasiflora.

I find "metalgaze" a fascinating genre to break down, if only because its scope seems as hazy as the music it describes. At what point does it become sludge metal? Or go the other way towards just being straight up shoegaze? Dream pop? [Other]? But Constants feel like a nice fit for the metalgaze tag. Opener "Sunrise" is a little bit heavier than dream pop, a la My Bloody Valentine, but there's still a warmth here that you can't find with, say, Jesu.

This overlap gives Pasiflora tremendous crossover potential despite not being a mainstream album. Fans of Hurry Up, We're Dreaming can head in a heavier direction while enjoying the pop sensibilities of "Mourning." Metalheads who first started to gravitate towards more atmospheric drones can take the next logical step through "Sunrise" and the Conqueror-esque "Crosses."

Still, the record suffers a little in its second half. It's one thing to drone; it's quite another to ramble. Pasiflora hits a point of repetition, but that's emblematic of the genre as a whole. Then again, Loveless doesn't have this problem, but that's probably why it's the greatest shoegaze record of all time.

That all being said, Pasiflora lives up to its namesake. It's a record for mellowing out over. 2 a.m. background music for a sleepless, rainy night. Plus, thanks to the solar-powered studio it was recorded in, it even underwent its own form of photosynthesis. C'mon, Constants earned this title.