The first track I ever heard from Cemeteries, the solo project of Buffalo native Kyle J. Reigle, was a cover of Neon Indian’s track “I Should Have Taken Acid With You”, which was released second in a three-part series of ‘Virtual’ 7-inches in December 2010. I played it on repeat for close to a week. It wasn’t just the way that Reigle transformed the track from a quintessential chillwave staple to an ethereal, elegant dream-pop drone, but his ability at making the essence of the track horrifyingly ironic. With sprawled out, waxing guitar-work combined with hushed, reverbed vocals Reigle takes a track generically precursory to bedroom goth-pop, and gets uber creepy, bastardizing the original title in psychedelic slow-dance fashion. Two years later, Reigle has only intensified his goth-pop sound on the superb 9-track sophomore record The Wilderness.
In an interview from last year, Reigle said he began his first album, Speaking Horrors as most bedroom artists do: as a hobby put out via his Bandcamp page. It quickly became the most popular download in our region, and with a little persistence, Cemeteries was eventually signed by Lefse, who supports prevalent artists such as Teen Daze, a musician Cemeteries just played a CMJ showcase with this past week in NYC.
Yes, we’ve heard musicians that sound like Cemeteries before. There’s the headstrong reliance on reverb, synth swells, waves of guitar that hang in twangy echo, but there’s a genius behind tracks like “In the Trees” that sets The Wilderness apart from records that simply want to sound woozy. There’s an embodiment of nostalgia that goes beyond indie trend; Reigle wants you to feel unique headaches of uneasiness, similar to the euphoria of deja vu or a hailstorm in the summer. Cemeteries wants you to walk into the woods at dusk and think the owls are not what they seem. Reigle isn't writing songs about the wilderness to be clever, but rather writing about the essence of whatever it is that we experience alone in the woods to realize what makes home or a particular place so safe and familiar.
Right now, Cemeteries might be the best band, not to come out of Buffalo in the past year, but in the past decade. Ever? I say that will the utmost enthusiasm and sincerity. Reigle takes bedroom-produced music to transcendently dark, and at times unexplored heights on The Wilderness. The record baits you via lush guitar and vocals and then thematically you're hooked. There are countless ideas spun into each gloomy track, each bent on a new twist of influence that could keep you listening for days.