The Bilinda Butchers are a shoegazing and dream-pop outfit from California. Named after Bilinda Butcher of My Bloody Valentine, in Heaven they have created a concept album about a young Japanese woman and her doomed love. In the band’s own words:
Heaven is the title of the diary written by Nakajima Ume, a young woman who lived in Japan from 1836 to 1864. It’s entries catalog her catastrophic marriage to a cruel nobleman, and her later introduction to a young, idealistic poet whose expressions of sympathy inspire her to escape from her unfortunate circumstances.
When her friendship with the poet is discovered, Ume is sent away to a distant village, where she falls into a deep depression and eventually learns of the poet’s death. Though the news of the poet’s death initially disturbs Ume, she soon discovers within herself a new sense of clarity and motivation. Her diary ends with a final pronouncement: she will drown herself in order to reunite with her fallen lover.
If you’re sceptical about the idea of concept albums, try to lay that to one side and just enjoy the soundscape that The Bilinda Butchers have created, and let yourself enter their world through the dream-pop grooves, incidental interludes, electronic ambience, and pure reverb-heavy shoegazing.
Ume ft. Juri Nakashima is the album’s beautiful opening track, and an absolutely classic slice of fried dream-pop gold that rises up, and up some more, on wings of sumptuous production.
Unfortunately, the limited vinyl run of Heaven has already sold out, but the good news is that you can listen to the whole album over on Soundcloud: