If given only one word, “bittersweet” is how I’d describe Alcest’s newest album. Compared to their past work, Shelter is a different journey altogether. Band leader Neige teams up with Jónsi Birgisson of Sigur Rós fame and takes us to a place not of this world.
Opening track “Wings” gently lifts you from everything you’re familiar with. By the time you’ve wandered into “Opale,” you’ll realize that there’s no turning back, as Birgisson gives us his Icelandic flavor of longing with fading vocals and dreamy echoing.
Toward the end of your travels, the title track’s piano notes are waves lapping at your feet, and the sun warms your bare skin—stripping away any fears as you stare into the distance. Then it dawns on you: this is where you want to be, to stay forever.
The album finds harmony between memory and what is yet to come. It reminds us of what pure innocence and true happiness are supposed to feel like. It takes us into a fresh reality, one that, unfortunately, we must eventually return from. Yet that is exactly why we’re so drawn to its ethereal beauty.
– Kathryn Yao