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Love and music

Olympia synth-pop duo Beatrix Sky and their beating hearts

The music of Beatrix Sky feels like love. Photo credit: Karissa Blunck

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There are few things more intimately connected in this world than love and music. The feeling you get when you fall in love, the songs that take on unreasonable importance over the course of relationships, the musical salve you apply to your wounds when you're going through a breakup - all of love's permutations are rarely unaccompanied by music. I can all but promise you that the majority of us have a song that we can't listen to anymore because of its association with a past partner. For me, that honor would go to "In Spite of Ourselves," a gorgeously tender and funny John Prine and Iris DeMent duet.

Still other music simply sounds like love itself, with all the doe-eyed daydreaming and heartbroken yearning that implies. It's love that I think of when I listen to Olympia synth-pop project Beatrix Sky. Led by Beatrix Hauth with her synthesizer and her aching vocals, Beatrix Sky's debut full-length, Fever Dreams, is a languid bit of dream pop. For the first couple songs, Beatrix Sky seems content to drift along, celebrating heartache and longing. When the drum machines start to kick a little more into gear, things get a bit livelier, even if these songs never quite complete the transformation into full-on dance parties. Filled out by Stephen Kurtz, Beatrix Sky stretch their legs and expand their skeletal sound to something that trades time in icy dance beats and warm walls of sound.

Though Beatrix Sky claim Grimes as one of their influences, I find that the modest electro-pop presence of Claire Boucher doesn't quite match up to the gumption of Hauth. While there's an overarching tenderness to the music of Beatrix Sky, Hauth is never a wilting flower. She leans into heartache without ever embracing victimhood. This is mature music that explores emotions in an honest way, seeing things from every angle and not cutting anybody any slack. "Selfish Blues" is a jittery indictment of a wannabe lover who likes to play games with hearts, and Hauth is not gonna let him off without a stern rebuke. Still, there's an underlying theme of beating oneself up over getting too close to somebody, of putting yourself out there.

Maybe that's the theme underneath all of Fever Dreams, both musically and lyrically: exposing yourself to someone even at the risk of great pain. Beatrix Sky's earnestness in presentation and message is an extension of Hauth, whether or not she presents in that way in real life. In this way, music has an ability to cut even closer to the truth than our actual actions can. It's easier to put your heart on your sleeve when there's a band (or drum machine) ready to accompany you. It's artifice in the service of forthrightness. For all the bearing of ourselves that relationships involve, there still remains a delicate tango of being sure not to give over every facet of your being, at least not for a while. Music can cut through this in a way that doesn't feel like cheating.

Beatrix Sky is not, and should not be perceived as, a paragon of exploring the inner lives of lovers. It could still happen, one of these days, for me to come across Beatrix Hauth and for her to tell me I'm full of s---. While that may be the case, I can only tell you from listening to music of Beatrix Sky that there's a certain visceral feeling that comes through my speakers. Maybe the summer makes me romantic. Maybe music is always more of an escape than a method of self-examination. In any way, Beatrix Sky is hear to puncture your barrier, and it may be healthier than not to let them.

BEATRIX SKY, w/ Coreena, Gardener, Ant'Lrd, July 19, 10 p.m., $5, Le Voyeur, 404 E. 4th Ave., Olympia, 360.943.5710

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