Ghostly Kisses, ‘Heaven, Wait’ — 3.5/5 stars

‘Toban turntable

Image provided by Take Aim Media

Ghostly Kisses’s work is overflowing with restraint. Singer-songwriter Margaux Sauvé and her partner Louis-Étienne Santais recorded her debut full-length Heaven, Wait largely at home, and the music reflects this with a whispery intimacy.

The album cover shows Sauvé underwater, recalling the gauzy, reflective nature of the music itself. Sauvé coos her emotional lyrics over clean, glassy instrumentals that shudder with chilling reverb and orchestral swells.

The first track, “Heartbeat,” utilizes a pulsating electric piano like Kid A Mnesia-era Radiohead and a steady beat that provides just enough momentum, evoking the title of the song. Above these driving aspects, glittering synths and Sauvé’s voice flutter weightlessly, setting the mood for the album ahead.

The title track is the first of several piano ballads on the album. It is a serviceably plaintive track, elevated by a skittering electronic beat and some soaring strings, but it never quite reaches transcendence.

The pair reaches that sad piano song transcendence with the second-to-last song “Green Book,” a similarly tragic lamentation that comes complete with a steadily building arrangement of keyboards and strings, digitally spliced together in an eerily surreal way. The vocals here are manipulated, too, but very slightly — just enough to differentiate them from the natural vocals elsewhere. The notes just snap in place slightly too quickly. It’s a touch that adds special resonance to the alienated, emotional lyrics. She reflects on a past relationship with a sad removal, wishing she could be truly be there with her partner.

Though the album largely relies on the ballads, tracks like “Carry Me” and “Your Heart Is Gold” add in a bit of electronic propulsion. “Carry Me” has a bit of ’10s chillwave to it, with some ’80s-inflected synths and a lightly dancy beat, but it’s slowed down by another plaintive melody and more hushed vocals.

“Your Heart Is Gold” handles the added drive a little better. It is maybe the only song on the album with a noticeable bassline, adding some much-needed syncopation and groove and it channels that pulse into a touching indie-pop ballad.

Heaven, Wait is a promising release from Ghostly Kisses. It’s a little bit one-note, a little too restrained and a little too safe, but it is certainly tasteful and occasionally moving.

Ghostly Kisses’s debut album Heaven, Wait will be released Jan. 28.