While the hot weather might be sticking around for a little while longer, late August always feels like the end of summer, the shifting of the season. While I welcome fall with open arms and long for an end to sweating from just stepping out the front door, it does feel fitting to pay tribute to the terminal stages of summertime, with Olhava’s Reborn and Short’s Brewing Company’s Key Lime Pie.
The Tunes: Olhava’s Reborn
Hot off the heels of last year’s Frozen Bloom, Russia’s Olhava return with another massive blackgaze offering to usher in the new season. Reborn continues the band’s conceptual throughline of mankind squandering nature, although where Frozen Bloom sowed hope and cautious optimism, Reborn goes in a much more pessimistic direction. The album is the story of a man who forgets where he came from and what put him on the planet and ultimately squanders his bond with nature, leading to the destruction of his home and, ultimately himself. Nature, however, lives on without us and in spite of us, and Reborn is a wonderful meditation on that fact. Musically, the band leans even heavier into the meditative drone soundscapes they introduced on Frozen Bloom. Each song begins with huge washes of synth and ringing tones that seem to go on forever, mostly because they go on for a really long time. Fans of the band won’t be shocked to find that the shortest of the four songs here is still sixteen minutes long, and the amount of space in each track is enough to drive a bus through. This becomes a blessing and a curse for Reborn: people looking for ripping, energetic blackgaze are probably going to be a little disappointed in how little actually happens for a good long time in each song. If you know what you’re up against, however, there is so much wonderful, heartbreaking and evocative ambience here that it’s very easy to get lost in all the depth. Honestly, it’s nice to have an album that doesn’t demand your undivided attention, one you can sink into and just breathe in the vibes. Reborn is that album, and as long as you’re okay with the energy being spread over a wide space, there’s a lot to find in the crevasses of this album. To paraphrase the inimitable Treebeard (who would probably get hella down with the concept behind this album), there’s nothing worth saying that doesn’t take a long time to say.
The Booze: Short’s Brewing Company’s Key Lime Pie
No better way to bid summer farewell than with, at least to me, the ultimate summer dessert, and in can form no less. Key Lime Pie is a golden ale brewed with marshmallow, graham crackers, lactose and lime, and all real ingredients with no extracts to boot. At 7.3% ABV, this is the kind of pie you’re going to want to go easy on, but the smooth flavors, pleasant mouthfeel and clean finish mean that you can easily knock back a few before you even realize it. Key lime pie happens to be my favorite dessert, and I can firmly attest that this beer lives up to my statistically high standards. You immediately get the tart, slightly sweet flavor that is distinct to key limes paired with the slightly hoppy golden ale bitterness, but all that mellows out into a nice smooth finish of graham crackers and marshmallow. Most importantly, this isn’t a drink that masks low quality beer with a ton of powerful flavors; rather, this tastes as much like beer as it does pie, which you don’t often see in these kinds of super flavorful dessert beers. I’m assuming that’s because the natural flavors and eschewing of extracts don’t hide the beer, but instead compliment it, and I gotta say, I dig it a lot.
You already know what goes here: take it sleazy. Uh, I mean, cheers and be good to each other.