Nigel Yang and Jonnine Standish, together known as HTRK, have released Death is a Dream, a collection of demos, alternate takes, and sketches from the genesis of Rhinestones, their 2021 studio album.

Inspired by an infatuation with “eerie and gothic country music,” Rhinestones moved away from the whispered lament of the pair’s debut album, Venus in Leo, to downtempo vignettes. Now, hearing the songs in a starker state illuminates “just how striking and durable these arrangements are,” we’re told. “Like lost highway jukebox standards, the melodies radiate spectral heartbreak in nearly any key or tempo.”

Although few tracks diverge radically from their final form, they exude a looseness and transience that “deepens their beguiling beauty.” This is particularly true with the “rehearsal” take on “Gilbert & George” and the slow thrumming “Eurodance” version of “Kiss Kiss and Rhinestones.”

The release includes unheard instrumentals like “Renaissance” and “Death Is A Dream,” which spin minimalist mirages from minor key riffs.

Tracklisting

01. Renaissance
02. Gilbert and George (Dec 30 Rehearsal)
03. Valentina (Cali Highway Version)
04. Kiss Kiss and Rhinestones (Eurodance Version)
05. No Big Thing
06. Devil Do
07. Straight to Hell (Demo)
08. Reverse Deja vu (Demo)
09. Fast Friend (Demo)
10. Death Is a Dream

Death is a Dream LP is available now. You can stream the album in full below and order here.





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