I don’t need no southbound highway sign to tell me HELL IS REAL”.
This opening line from the debut single “New Tongue” launches us into the sophomore album Glass Fate by the Chicago based Desert Liminal. Glass Fate takes us through a Lost Highway trip into the subconscious of Sarah Jane Quillin’s year while writing this record. The songs form a collective meditation on Quillin’s hope and grief while processing the loss of a parent, the end of a beloved band Heavy Dreams (a collaboration with DEHD’s Emily Kempf), and witnessing the surreal near-death experience of her best friend, Desert Liminal’s drummer Rob Logan, during one of their shows. Channeling this heaviness into soaring and simmering experimental indie rock, Desert Liminal’s sound is marked by Quillin’s spectral vocal melodies layered over warm, looping walls of vintage synthesizer and violin filtered through a distortion pedal array. Rob Logan’s drumming ranges from driving post-punk drum grooves to thoughtful, held back polyrhythms that serve and elevate the record.
Completing this subverted power trio, violinist and prolific noise artist Mallory Linehan (Chelsea Bridge) joined in 2019, perfecting the trio’s sound with spacious strings and tape loops that blend into the warm wash of resonating reverb and delay. A first listen of Glass Fate reveals a band with an astute ear for creating warm, engaging art-pop that entwines Quillin’s eliding delivery around smart hooks and introspective, bordering on melancholy, melodies. The further these songs move from the source they begin slipping into headier terrain creating neck-craning audio fields of droning violins and looped voice that recall Tony Conrad at his most accessible and Haley Fohr’s experimentations with voice and breath. These sounds cohabitate in the liminal space where meaning and reference slowly fade into Jungian archetype and back again through the trio’s strong grasp on solid, reality-affirming songwriting.
A fixture in the deep field of Chicago D.I.Y Desert Liminal has shared bills with varied notable acts like Caroline Polachek, Molly Nilsson, Eyedress, Mary Ocher, The Hecks, Living Hour, and Weeping Icon. The band has been featured in The Chicago Tribune, Indie Shuffle, BIRP!, Various Small Flames and more.
released November 19, 2021
Produced by Desert Liminal, Robby Haynes and Ziyad Asrar.
Recorded and mixed at Strange Magic Recording Chicago, IL.
Desert Liminal is Sarah Jane Quillin, Rob Logan and Mallory Linehan.
Flute by Maria Jacobson (Fran)
Art by Neal Vandenbergh. Layout and Design by Dustin Bowen.