Friday, April 24, 2009

Essence - nothing lasts forever (1991)

The Essence were always perceived as Cure copycats, and rightly so. But then again they always wrote great songs, and at their best (A Monument Of Trust) they could tackle glimmering drama with ease. So it was with Nothing Lasts Forever, making it's case with bruised and elegiac pop ("Separation"), spiraling mood-swings ("How You Make Me Hate"), autumnal paeans ("September"), shimmering dramas ("Out Of Grace"), sparkling sorrowful sighs ("Everything"), triumphant pop that rose like a phoenix out of it's ashes ("Never Let Go"), wind-torn rain-soaked landscapes ("Thirty Second Song"), fragile farewells ("All Is Empty" and so on.

Get it here.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Slowdive - souvlaki (1993)

Slowdive diluted their sound somewhat in Souvlaki but, what they lacked in density, they made up in emotional gravitational pull.

"Alison" was a shoegaze paean that flickered like a small flame in the wind, before incandescing itself in the chorus. Then "Machine Gun" was a tender hymn that floated like a feather in the atmosphere. In contrast, "40 Days" traveled in space in supersonic speeds and was wrapped in motion blur. "Sing", co-written by Brian Eno, employed a twirl of electronics to emulate a state of weightlessness, before picking up speed in an endless fall in space.

"Souvlaki Space Station" continued the trend, now burning itself in this infinite fall in space. "When The Sun Hits" mourned for the fall and loss, eventually losing itself in the process. "Altogether" had lost it's senses, taking comfort in the temporary refuge of an internal cocoon. Even this embankment wasn't to last. "Melon Yellow" was falling too fast, too soon, into this internal abyss. "Dagger" certainly didn't offer any solace. By now the flickering flame of "Alison" was all but gone and all that was left was the memory of the flame, which in turn was fading into nothingness.

A masterpiece. Get it here.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

My Bloody Valentine - loveless (1991)

My Bloody Valentine was the one band to push the shoegaze sound to it's limits. The other was Slowdive. Loveless was their grand statement.

"Only Shallow" was a dream-pop dissevered with monstrous fuzz acid-rock outbursts. In "Loomer", their dream-pop became an amorphous toxic fuzz cloud. Then, after the loop intermezzo "Touched", "To Here Knows When" rose triumphantly like purging steam towards the sky; essentially this was the previous amorphous cloud having gotten rid of the fuzz and vocals, and having transubstantiated higher in the stratosphere to pure ethereal ecstatic sound.

When compared to these bold sonic experiments, "When You Sleep" was classic shoegaze (i.e. fuzz ridden dream-pop). Again, from this relatively standard moment, "I Only Said" exploded with giant whirlwinds of pure soaring, melodic, spiritual elation; if new-age music relaxed the spirit, then My Bloody Valentine's music washed off the spirit with white light from heaven, uniting it with the great one in a dizzying nirvana.

And again, this was followed by a more normal shoegaze track, "Come In Alone", which also reminded of 60's psychedelia. "Sometimes" was also fairly standard, though aided by a superb melody and a more pensive tone. The ectoplasmic nature of their music returned with "Blown A Wish", which was akin to a gospel floating in the airwaves in search of a heaven. And finally, in "What You Want" they merged their two guises: one, the superb shoegaze pop-psychedelia and, two, the impalpable ecstatic harmonic structure.

A triumph.

NOTE: Sorry folks, link removed by request.