Though it was associated with Athens’ Elephant 6 collective, songwriter Andy Gonzales’ Marshmallow Coast (alternately known as M Coast) never achieved the same widespread recognition as some of its contemporaries, perhaps due to the group’s high level of turnover, or its frontman’s unwillingness to pigeonhole the project.
Indeed, Gonzales has never sat still long enough to allow listeners to really figure him out, and Vangelis Rides Again, Marshmallow Coast’s fourth outing for the Athens-based HHBTM label, continues this trend. Clocking in at a brief 24 minutes, the record nonetheless finds Gonzales and company exploring exciting new angles while nodding to the jumbled, psych-speckled sounds of M Coast’s early days.
Vangelis features some of Gonzales’ finest tunes to date, from the late-night bedroom-pop of “Hills Are Alive,” which calls to mind the recent work of fellow soft-psych devotee Cass McCombs, or “Homeless Baby,” a daring, psychotropic number that reappropriates the lyrics to “On Broadway.” But though the songs stand out, there aren’t enough of them. A would-be epic in miniaturized form, Vangelis comes off instead like a tantalizing teaser for something more.