Split between Indiana and Florida, dream pop/shoegaze outfit Whimsical — currently Krissy Vanderwoude (vocals) and Neil Burkdoll (guitar, production) — can trace their origins back to 1995 when Vanderwoude and Burkdoll met while attending high school in Indiana.
At the time, Burkdoll, along with Andy Muntean (drums) were members of a local band Mystified Thinking. Mystified Thinking split up when its members graduated from high school and gradually went their own ways. However, Burkdoll decided that he wanted to start a new band that was the complete opposite of what he had been writing with Mystified Thinking, which was primarily centered around depression and sadness.
Over the next handful of years, what eventually became Whimsical went through a few false starts and lineup changes before 1999 when the band settled upon their first lineup — Time Fogle (drums) and Joe Santelik (bass), along with Burkdoll and Vanderwoulde.
Their full-length debut, 2000’s Setting Suns Are Semi-Circles is considered a dream pop cult classic. The act went on to write their debut’s follow-up but they split up after that album was about 90% finished.
In 2015, Vanderwoulde and Burkdoll reunited to complete their long-anticipated sophomore album, the critically applauded Sleep to Dream, an effort that drew comparisons to Lush and The Cranberries, among others. Since the release of Sleep to Dream, the members of Whimsical have been busy: 2019 saw the release of the act’s third album, Bright Smiles and Broken Hearts. In between the release of Sleep to Dream and the writing sessions for their forth album, they also released a series of covers, featuring songs they’ve long wanted to cover including Motorhome’s “Sweet Valentine,” Smashing Pumpkins‘ “Snail,” and The Ocean Blue’s “Cerulean,” which reveals some of their influences.
And if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past couple of years, Krissy Vanderwoulde’s name may be familiar: she’s one half of the Transatlantic dream pop duo The Churchill Gardens.
Whimsical’s fourth album, the nine-song Melt is slated for an April 1st release through Shelflife Records here in the States and Through Love Records in Germany. Melt reportedly sees the duo pushing their sound in new directions while retaining the elements that their fans have expected and loved — namely, Burkdoll’s incandescent guitar and Vanderwoulde’s lilting and ethereal vocals.
Melt‘s third and latest single, the slow-burning and painterly “Quicksand” is a bit of a trip-hop take on dream pop with the song being centered around skittering beats, twinkling keys and sampled and manipulated guitars paired with Vanderwoulde’s lilting and ethereal vocals. The end result is a song that seems the duo nodding at Massive Attack, Cocteau Twins and A Storm in Heaven simultaneously.
“‘Quicksand’ is the ‘oddball’ on our new album Melt, but it’s also the song we are probably most excited about,” the duo say in press notes. “Sounding mostly electronic, Quicksand is made from our sampled guitars that have been manipulated and repurposed in a new and interesting way. We were able to expand our sonic palette and try new things with what makes up a Whimsical song. Initially we were worried that ‘Quicksand’ wouldn’t fit alongside our other songs, but once we realized that our melodies and Krissy’s heartfelt lyrics were in place, we knew that we had created something special and any concerns we had faded away. We’ve waited a long time for people to finally hear ‘Quicksand’ and we hope they are as excited about it as we are.”