Dedicated followers of this space will know that the world of Soundscapes has been rather obsessed with this record as of late. The truth is, it's been with us for a lot longer than that. Although it's just recently celebrated its worldwide release, Long Live has been a consignment and merch table treasure for nearly three years now, and it's been very gently rocking our world (in a cradled-by-your-mom sort of way) ever since.
To say that this admirable little album has lost none of its lustre in the ensuing time is an understatement. Rather, its soft glow has only grown more entrancing and beguiling. In many ways, this slow build to prominence suits the act perfectly—this is a record that clearly has no issues with taking its time to make acquaintances.
Singer/songwriter Daniela Gesundheit is the person at the core of Snowblink. Her meandering journey to this point is one that has seen her come from California to Toronto (Seriously! In your face, L.A. music scene!), and share both the stage and studio with an impressive list of American and Canadian indie talent, including members of Dirty Projectors, Deerhoof, Vetiver, Ryan Driver, Owen Pallett and Broken Social Scene. But, lest that last name give you the impression that Long Live is some sort of everything-and-the-kitchen-sink indie love-in, guess again. Every ounce of this patient, luminous album feels as though it has been distilled like rose water from thousands of petals, leaving behind only the purest of moments.
Its take on folk and pastoral pop is hardly without precedent, but Gesundheit always comes across as though she's presenting her most honest side available. Nothing feels put-on and she is entirely unfamiliar with overstatement, with many tracks acting more as interludes that don’t even crack a minute in length. Even the most immediate and memorable parts of the album—like the rising, swirling coda of "Ambergris"—are less big moments than simply a longer, lingering assertion of Gesundheit’s comforting voice and relaxed way with a song.
Perhaps nowhere is this relaxed approach more evident than in how the album ends. Whereas most albums build to some sort of definitive conclusion, Long Live continues to catch me off-guard in how it just sort of stops without warning—even as the lovely echo of final track “The Haunt” pleads its strong case to stick around. It’s a funny, arty gambit, but if such an unexpected approach to rounding off her debut is meant to jar the listener into an immediate repeat visit to her world, then it's an astute move, for while Long Live may be an easy album to immerse oneself in, it’s far more difficult to walk away from.