Yes, chillwave is still around. Yes, it still takes a lot of abuse. No, it doesn’t really deserve it.
Memory Tapes (aka Dayve Hawk) might not be the finest the genre has to offer, but he produces reliably good work that varies enough from one release to the next to keep you interested. Grace/Confusion is a colorful cloud of free floating pop, clocking it at album length but doing so in only six tracks.
Each expansive song builds and shifts, sometimes organically and sometimes uneasily. The relatively upbeat “Thru the Field” periodically drops its driving backbeat and celebratory synths and guitar riffs for slowing burning, sparse melodies. Dark and muddy drones of “Let Me Be” are eventually joined by a melody of sounds produced by a synth-soaked steel drum. “Sheila,” the album’s longest track at eight and a half minutes, wavers around processed falsetto vocals, grandiose electric guitar, rock drums, drum machines, and ‘80s synth melodies that soar, twinkle and pulse.
If you’re giving Grace/Confusion a close listen, it might let you down a few times. Just when it feels like a track is building to something, it loses momentum and fades away. But maybe that’s a chillwave problem in general. And on that note, the album satisfies in terms of what makes chillwave enjoyable. You can zone out and sink into it without caring too much where it goes, as long as it sounds nice while it’s wandering.