Clementine Valentine, the Coromandel-based art-pop duo formerly known as Purple Pilgrims, release their new album The Coin that Broke the Fountain Floor, ahead of an NZ release tour next month. TIckets at Banishedmusic.com.
The Coin that Broke the Fountain Floor is a pivotal album in the creative evolution of sisters Clementine and Valenti
The songs first took shape against a backdrop of complete isolation: Aotearoa New Zealand’s Coromandel Peninsula, entirely deserted in the midst of Covid lockdown. Forced to stand still, the sisters examined various events unfolding in their lives, and began work on a set of songs tapping into a newfound sense of realism, skewed through a lens of soft fantasy. They joined forces with New York City producer Randall Dunn (Oneohtrix Point Never, Danny Elfman, Jim Jarmusch) to transpose their keyboard-and-guitar demos to cello, pedal steel, 12-string guitar, and a gallery of vintage synthesizers. Percussion was provided by legendary drummer Matt Chamberlain (David Bowie, Lana Del Rey, Fiona Apple). Final audio finessing came courtesy of Brooklyn mastering engineer Heba Kadry (Bjork, Beach House, Slowdive). The results are regal and richly layered, softly orchestral yet lithe and shimmering.
Opener “Gatekeeper” is a fragile liberation anthem, tiptoeing through a glistening meadow of strings, sunlight, and choral voice (“Tonight while the gatekeeper’s sleeping / I’m lifting the key / I’m freeing the city”). From there the album spins through new wave incantation (“All I See”), heroic romance (“Time and Tide,” “Endless Night”), medieval ritual (“The Understudy”), swooning balladry (“The Rope,” “Actors Tears”), and smoky cinematic reckonings (“Selenelion,” “All Yesterdays Flowers”).
Throughout, Clementine and Valentine’s ancestral chemistry flowers in fresh and surprising ways. Melodies simmer and surge at unexpected moments; lulls billow and bloom into sensual interludes; lyrics glide within the mix, then suddenly crystallize in transcendent moments.
The flag has changed names, and colors, but there is still a sense of pilgrimage to these songs. Travelling across nations and generations to the heart of family trees seeded by love and devotion, melody and mythology: The Coin that Broke the Fountain Floor.