Last night, Belle & Sebastian made my heart explode with warmth and joy. There’s been a cloud hovering over me for months, the type of blues that can’t ever be remedied by song, but for a few hours last night my mind was calm. I danced and laughed. I put things on hold.

That’s probably why the drive home, one that included sheets of rain and darkness, was so perfectly sound tracked by Esmerine’s new record. Dalmak is a gorgeous collection of songs, steeped in Turkish influence and rich in emotion and nuanced sounds. Dalmak is a verb that roughly translates to contemplation. To be absorbed by something. To dive in headlong without fear of consequence. After escaping for a few hours, my mind wanted to start asking questions again.

This record is an exploration of self. Esmerine compositions are emotional portals for the listeners. There is significance in these songs, and the band uses their notes to convey heartfelt and deep emotion. This record is triumphant when asked, but still grounded in sadness. Nothing in my life is fused with the livelihood and beauty you find in Turkish markets or the political strife the country’s citizens face on an everyday basis, but these songs still act as a gateway into my own soul. These songs force me to think, to explore, to question. They make me want to love, to hold, to push on.

“Translator’s Close II” is driven by percussion. It crackles with energy and electricity, and as I rocketed home through darkness with rain pelting my windshield, it felt right.