ARTIST: SPC ECO
RELEASE: Dark Matter
RELEASE DATE: 03/05/15
RECORD COMPANY: kaboommusic / Saintmarierecords
This release came out about a month ago to no fanfare. Reviews of Dark Matter have been impossible to find online, so with nothing to go on, I have to wing this one. Oh, wait, there are some nice words from fans on the band’s Bandcamp page, so there you go. Dean Garcia and his daughter Rose are frighteningly prolific, often releasing two albums of new material per year. For a time, they tried changing their name, but that thankfully didn’t pan out. Their work is something you can rely on, and I don’t mean that it’s pedestrian. Rather, they continue laying down this engrossing sonic architecture of darkwave and electronica laced with dream pop. Dean is a master of studio trickery and plays a zillion instruments, and Rose has the voice of a dark angel. But they are not creatures of light, not really.
Dark Matter by SPC ECO
And let’s get the Curve comparisons out of the way - “The Whole World Shines” is hands down my favourite song here, and it stylistically resembles vintage Curve, but Rose sounds nothing like Toni Halliday. So there you have it. Cool tune, with its retro beats and darkly ominous bassline. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves as I have jumped forward to the bottom of the playlist. 'Creep in the Shadows' opens the album, and is marred by the voice synthesiser on Rose’s vocals. It is a pretty song, and I love the other spacey elements, but I can’t get past these synthetic enhancements. “Different Kind” continues this unfortunate trend; I would have much preferred to hear Rose humming over the hypnotic backdrop. “Let it Be Always” is the perfect soundtrack to your nightmare, with that creepy, slow backbeat, and then it shifts into lightness unexpectedly. It reminds me of the sort of sinister electronica that used to dominate TV shows like La Femme Nikita back in the 90s.
“Playing Games” is a gem, floating along with found voices deep in the mix to bolster Rose’s gorgeous vocals, and Dean has woven a mesmerizing sonic tapestry. More like this, please! “I Won’t Be Heard” should be a single, and is equally beautiful. “Meteor” veers toward somber dream pop and also appears on their brand new SPC and Time - Vol 2 compilation. I can see myself hitting repeat often on this song. “Down Low” has interesting electronic elements and I really like when the guitar kicks in. “Breathe” dials it back to simpler patterns, letting the music speak for itself without too many complicated layers. “Under My Skin” (also on the aforementioned compilation) is gauzy and magnificent dream pop, and is a fitting end to this release.
Recommended for fans of dream pop, Curve, and chilled out dark wave.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Music has always been a driving force for Elizabeth Klisiewicz, which she days "continues to define my existence". During and after her college years, she ran a weekly radio show at WMUA FM Radio and also at a community station in Springfield, MA, in addition to writing music and concert reviews for the college newspaper. At present, she writes for The Big Takeover Magazine and The Active Listener Blog, and recently began producing a semi-regular Mixcloud-based show called The Kitchen Sink. In the real world, when not writing technical manuals, she gets her thrills from reading mysteries, birdwatching, and can always be found with a camera and a maxed-out storage card full of music.
by Primal Music
RELEASE: Changing Lights
RELEASE DATE: 18/05/15
RECORD COMPANY: Presto Chango Records
Changing Lights, the latest release from Labasheeda, is a prickly collection of songs that leaves the listener with a lot on their mind. The whole record is saturated with a spiky, unsettling feel a little like, maybe, Throwing Muses, with added hardcore edges. Saskia van der Giessen's vocals are affecting throughout, at times lilting and lovely. But it's when she's at her snarliest that the sparks fly.
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Opener Spiral Song, sets the angsty mood with a spare drum beat and wailing violin. The three-piece seem close to relaxing on On The Beach, with its almost (almost) slackerish vibe, but while the lyrics seem to say 'everything feels alright', there's an undercurrent that suggests this might be a bit optimistic. Tightrope is as taut as the title suggests. Instrumental Into the Wide ends the album in a woeful whirl, with the violin taking centre stage while guitars growl in the background.
Changing Lights is out now - https://labasheeda.bandcamp.com/album/changing-lights
AUTHOR: Sarah Cuthbert-Kerr
I AM YOUR CAPTAIN - SEVER
'Sever' is the latest offering from the brilliant UK based 'I Am Your Captain'. This brand new track is lifted from the forthcoming album due for release sometime over the next few months. 'I Am Your Captain' is the solo project of Air Formation bass player - Ben Pierce. This latest offering is another sublime cinematic journey through layers of reverb drenched shoegaze & it typifies the brilliant sounds crafted by this band on their previous releases! The haunting vocals, yearning (almost subliminal) drum patterns, addictive bass lines & droning atmospheric guitars are what instantly attracted us to this immensely intense band. Last years release from the band - 'As My Heart Rate Slowly Drops' appeared on Primal Radio's Top 5 EP's of 2014. If this latest track is anything to go by then the full release is bound to be epic! You can check out the bands other releases by following the link below to their bandcamp page.
ARTIST: Kimono Lights
RELEASE: Sugar Loneliness
RELEASE DATE: 21/05/15
RECORD COMPANY: Unsigned
Back in February 2015 Italian based noise merchants 'Kimono Lights' exploded onto the underground music scene with a stunning body of work full of dreampop flair, post rock connotations & touches of shoegaze magnificence. Their debut album 'Imprinting' was a snapshot of a band on the rise. I wrote about 'Imprinting' for The primal Music Blog on its release ( Check It out : HERE ) & at the time I stated that this band had a lot more to give musically! Now the band have dispensed of their beautiful dreampop infused swirls & replaced it with full on shoegazing soundscapes that will have you dazzled with its walls of guitars, angst vocals & impressive musical constructions. There is an air of experimentation on their latest EP entitled 'Sugar Loneliness' & in my opinion this will surely catapult them into many an end of year top EP of 2015 list. 'Sugar Loneliness' is a sonic thrill ride through layers of reverb drenched guitars, pounding drums, throbbing bass lines & impressive vocal arrangements & is a must have EP for any shoegaze fan. The band hail from San Pancrazio, Italy and are made up of Andrea Crispy Smiths - Guitar and Vocals, Manuel Fabbri - Bass, Matteo Sama - Guitar & Enrico Piraccini - Drums and Vocals.
This latest EP opens up with the rather impressive 'Milkshake'. Driving guitars & steadying drums lead the charge until a full on high octane, angst ridden vocal arrangement drags us to a blissful soaring reverb drenched chorus. This is a statement of intent from a band experimenting with their sound. It is addictively sublime. Check it out:
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Track 2 has touches of the bands brilliant debut album 'Imprinting' all over it. There are hints of their earlier ambient post rock explorations through the intro & verses of 'Give Me' but its in the explosive shoegazing chorus parts that I find solace. This track soars like an eagle through the chorus. Production wise it is immense. The guitars loop & arc throughout with a vocal track reminiscent of early Loop. This is Immense! Check k it out:
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'Deception' - track 3 on 'Kimono Lights' latest EP offering 'Sugar Loneliness' has a multitude of genre's streaming through its core. I can hear flurries of 80's alternative infused with a melodic dreampop vocal line that sits on top of that infectious, effected drum pattern & screaming reverb laden guitar parts. This track will keep you hooked from its very first note! To me this is something new for us fans of this modern day shoegaze/dreampop revival & it goes to show how hard 'Kimono Lights' are working in studio to release something different. 'Deception' is a triumphant track & one worthy of your ears. Check it out:
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'Kimono Lights' never fail to impress me! Track 4 on 'Sugar Loneliness' is simply beautiful. 'Cherry' - evokes feelings of loss & emptiness with its infectiously spacious acoustic guitar lines & psychedelic electric touches all swirling around that immense vocal line. It guides you through it's 3 minutes plus of intense beauty until a disturbance in the form of a screaming wall of guitars takes you to another place where love rules & reverberation is king. This is stunning ........
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The opening bars of 'Sugar' - Track 5 on the latest release from Italian gazers 'Kimono Lights' feels like it shouldn't be here? Im confused at why they would want to put it on this release at all. A complete turn around from the previous 4 monumental tracks, this reminds me of early 90's indie rock? Not my cup of tea but sure to interest the gallery crowd at least.
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The final track on this EP brings us back to normality. 'Lift To Hell' is 2 minutes of reverb laden instrumentation with the driving guitar swells, impressive drum patterns & swirling psychedelic sounds typical of this new sounding 'Kimono Lights'. Too short to over explore but a fitting end to a blissful EP.
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Overall this is brilliant release from a very competent collection of musicians who are not afraid to experiment with sound. 'Kimono Lights' have the ability to push on and make serious waves in this modern day shoegazing revival. I am seriously impressed at how much they have progressed from their immense debut album. This EP is worth every single second of your time & your music collection will thank you for adding it to its ranks.
Del Chaney has spent the last two years not only fronting popular Irish Electronic duo Analogue Wave but also dedicating his time to uncovering the best artists in the Unsigned or Small Independent Label based Shoegaze Dream Pop Post-Punk & Post-Rock genre’s of music from all over the globe & reviewing them for this blog - The Primal Music Blog. His other arm - Primal Radio - has gained considerable respect from bands and promoters alike since its conception in 2013 & has hepled him in actively promoting a genre of music that he is passionate about. Hailing from Dublin, Ireland, he is a keen Vinyl Collector, Tattoo Fan & all round good guy! He is a self confessed music freak & is never far away from a studio console or a turntable.
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With earlier releases from Princess more firmly in the shoegaze camp, the two tracks that make up this latest single see the Dublin duo trip the light fantastic into Stereolab territory. Black Window’s insistent and mathy guitar goes in satisfying circles. The scuzzed-up vocals and high-pitched feedback that plays at the edge of our hearing evokes 90s noise – that’s compounded when the whole thing erupts in fuzz and chaos. There is more than a soupçon of Laetitia Sadier evident as composure is regained towards the end.
On Sick Ties, vocal layers upon vocal to a reach velvety crescendo, before the bass and drums drives droning into a krautrock groove. Keening guitar breaks the spell and calls us back to somewhere much more clean and crystalline.
Aside from the Dublin connection and some sonic sympathies, Princess appear to share Kevin Shields’ love of the studio, suggesting their forthcoming album will be an ambitious affair.
Black Window is out now on CD and download at www.thatsoprincess.bandcamp.com
Michigan based dreampop/shoegazers Great Black Night return with another immense single entitled 'Stalker'. This haze of shimmering brilliance is the follow single up to their amazing debut EP 'The Smoke Is Rising'. Stalker open up with a traditionally sounding post punk bass line intertwined with that Great Black Night string section. We're then introduced to a wall of reverb laden guitars, thundering drums & throbbing basslines caressing another brilliant vocal arrangement. This is good stuff from Great Black Night and we can't wait to hear what comes next. Check it out:
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Stalker is available to buy/download from Bandcamp: gbnlovesyou.bandcamp.com/album/stalker-single
What can we say about Wozniak that hasn't already been said? Signed to the epic 'Morningside Young Team Records' & producing powerful, atmospheric & blissfully emotive soundscapes that sweep through numerous sonic plains depositing high grade shoegaze creations onto the everyday humble folk who follow this band with intent - Wozniak are an immense outfit. After the release of their first single 'MFMB/New Hampshire' back in August 2013, second single 'El Maresme' in June 2014 & then their epic debut EP 'Pikes Peak' also in June 2014 the focus of the underground shoegazing world was set firmly on this 4 piece from Edinburgh, Scotland & they did not disappoint! On 12/11/14 they unleashed their brilliant new single '5 Star' onto the world alongside a remix of the same track by none other than London based noise merchants 'In Violet'. Add into the mix their inclusion in the epic worldwide shoegaze compilation - Revolution - The Shoegaze Revival released jointly by Ear To Ear Records & Gerpfast Kolektif plus an impressive cover version of the classic RIDE track 'Time Machine' for the recently released RIDE covers compilation 'Leave Them All Behind - A Tribute To Ride', from 'The Blog That Celebrates Itself Records', plus their inclusion in the joint EP from Scottish blogs - Scottish Fiction and Almost Predictable & you have a maelstrom of serious expectation's for what will come next from this amazing band. We caught up with them as they prepare to visit Dublin in what will be their debut live show in Ireland & asked them a few questions on playing live, playing with Irish rockers Makings & future plans. Check it out:
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1) TELL US ABOUT YOUR BAND? WHERE ARE YOU FROM? FORMATION? BAND MEMBERS?
Wozniak formed in Edinburgh in 2012 with a vague mission to create a lot of noise and use as many pedals as possible. We are Simon (guitar and chief pedal hoarder), James (bass), John (drums) and Sarah (guitar, vocals, occasional keys). We formed after Simon, John and I had played in a covers band a few times, but we quickly decided that we'd be better off doing our own thing, whatever that might be. We were amazing at a few indie classics though. And, in case you are wondering, we ARE named after Steve Wozniak.
2) DESCRIBE YOUR SOUND?
It's always so tricky to describe the sound, we're a bit of a cocktail of shoegaze, post-rock and noise. I guess there is some good, old-fashioned rock and roll in the mix too. It's loud and densely textured. We are huge fans of the holy trinity of gaze - reverb, distortion and delay - which will be obvious to anyone who's listened to our stuff. Where there are vocals, they're buried in reverb and fuzz too, which is probably a blessing for all involved. It is always surprising to hear the comparisons that other folk make, but someone recently said we reminded them of Band of Susans, which was fine with me.
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3) WHO ARE YOUR INFLUENCES?
We've got a wide range of influences, which is one of the reasons that I think Wozniak works so well. Otherwise all our songs would just be 20 mins of squalling feedback. Obviously, there is a lot of first generation shoegaze in there - MBV and Slowdive, some Sonic Youth, Warpaint, AC/DC, some Queens of the Stone Age. A heady brew of rackets, which uniquely combine to create our own racket.
4) DESCRIBE YOUR LIVE SOUND?
Our live sound can be pretty intense. We like to play loud, with feedback wailing. We are ALWAYS getting told to turn our amps down. Volume, though, is an important part of the Wozniak experience. We want you to leave with your ears ringing and (maybe) your heart soaring. A soundman once said that we were 'brutal, in a good way'.
5) WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT PLAYING LIVE?
Playing live is a lot of fun, but not without its stresses - will all the pedals work, will anyone turn up (you'll note the order of these concerns)... But when people do turn up, well, that's pretty cool. The best thing about playing live is when the audience are really into it. It doesn't have to be a big crowd, but when you can sense they are on your wave length, it's a great feeling. I also love checking out the other bands - we've played with a few of Primal Radio's favourites - Inuit, who got top album in your end-of-year show last year, We Came From The North & In Violet. All very talented, all very ace people. And venues - there are lots of great venues. We loved the Sebright Arms in London, and Bloc in Glasgow is great. In Edinburgh, Sneaky Pete's, the Wee Red Bar and Opium are all worthy of note.
6) BEST LIVE GIG YOU GUYS HAVE PLAYED SO FAR?
I think the best live gig so far has to be our only show so far of 2015 at the Sebright Arms. It was just such a great adventure as we hadn't played in London before. We had the van, and the '100 greatest indie hits ever'. We were playing with In Violet and Degree of Arc who are awesome bands. The show had come about because In Violet and Wozniak got played on the same radio show in May last year and we got in touch over Twitter. They said, come to London, so Goodsoul Promotions got involved and got it sorted out. It was a brilliant venue, great people and a really good crowd. Plus, Mike Goodsoul and his awesome mum Norma made us breakfast. So much breakfast.
I also enjoyed playing at Edinburgh University's Rock and Goth Society - that was ages ago but it sticks in my mind as a good show. I think we were the band with the least amount of tattoos/ eyeliner ever to have played, but they were right into it.
7) ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO PLAYING DUBLIN WITH MAKINGS?
We are amazed to have been asked to Dublin to make noise. I've decided to call it our European Capital Tour. First London, then Dublin, and then who knows where? I don't know a great deal about the Dublin scene, but I have high hopes as I imagine it is party central... Huge thanks are due to you, Del Chaney for making it happen. A few pints will be coming your way as a thank you!
8) WHAT'S NEXT FOR WOZNIAK THIS YEAR?
We've had a pretty busy start to the year, first featuring on the awesome Revolution - The Shoegaze Revival compilation from Ear to Ear Records and Gerpfast Kolektif, then we did a cover of Ride's 'Time Machine' for a tribute album from Brazil's 'The Blog That Celebrates Itself', and we've just featured on a joint EP from Scottish blogs, Scottish Fiction and Almost Predictable. Almost. If you haven't already, you should check all of those out.
Other than that, we've been in the studio a fair bit this year with the plan of making an album. However, that's quite an undertaking and it's going to take us a while to make it happen. So, we've decided that we're going to issue a four track EP in the meantime. It'll be out in June and we'll let you have all the details as soon as we know more ourselves. We've got a few shows lined up in Scotland around that and beyond that, we are open to offers...
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Photos Used With Permission: GabbyStonePhotography.co.uk.
RELEASE: Out Of Your Ego
RELEASE DATE: 28/04/14
RECORD COMPANY: Seahorse Recordings
Italian dreamgazers Clustersun have flitted at the periphery of my consciousness for awhile now, but after reading a positive review of their work in Big Takeover Magazine and hearing them on the now defunct Flyweight show on college station WZBC, I knew I had to check them out. They also appeared on a compilation I reviewed recently called “Revolution - The Shoegaze Revival”, where they trotted out their trippy band of post punk on a song that also opens this album called “Hipgnosis”.
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The opening bars of "Hipgnosis" wouldn’t be out of place on an early Pink Floyd album, though the vocals are uniquely Clustersun’s. “Meteors” starts off with an almost trademark ominous bass line (which I dig), but that cold wave feeling is quickly nixed by Marco Chisari’s upbeat vocals. “Be Vegetal” is a fine piece of post punk that could have been released anytime in the past 30 years, betrayed only by modern production methods. “Planar I” (is anyone sensing a space theme here?) is a long, spacey song punctuated by trippy electronics and swirling psychedelia. By the 5:30 mark, it transforms into something else altogether, a veritable sonic feast with many layers. The excellent “Nebula” sounds a lot like the great English band, Sad Lovers and Giants, at least vocally. Maybe it’s a question of mood too, as the band brandishes melancholia freely. “Floating” is also in this vein, with some very nice atmospheric guitar work. Then we have “Planar II”, which also has that English post punk vibe, guitar work sliding into Chameleons territory. The song is short but dense, and sweet in the way that good music always is. The band closes the album with the self-titled “Clustersun”, a simmering space rock instrumental. I could actually see them opening a show with this!
In any case, this album has been out for a year and the band sings solely in English and they go well beyond the sometimes limited realms of shoegaze. It’s a really cool record from a promising young band who just finished up their US tour. Let’s hope they come see us again!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
New York based shoegazing noise merchants 'Honeymoon' came to our attention last month when we reviewed their epic debut EP release 'I Wanna See Everything'. With a sound full of shoegazing tendencies intertwined with the tenacity of the traditional noise pop fraternity & an infusion of subtle dreampop swirls this band are uniquely modern in todays shoegazing circles. We caught up with them & asked them a few questions on music, shoegazing, future plans & recommended listening. Check out their rather short answers below:
TELL US ABOUT YOUR BAND? WHERE ARE YOU FROM? FORMATION? BAND MEMBERS?
We're a fairly new band, having only formed in the Autumn of 2014. We're based in Brooklyn, NY. Cait sings and plays guitar, Rob plays guitar, Nate plays bass, and Ryan plays drums.
DESCRIBE YOUR SOUND?
We're somewhere in the realm of shoegaze and dream pop, with a heavy dose of brit pop and punk influence.
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WHO ARE YOUR BIGGEST INFLUENCES?
When we were writing and recording I Wanna See Everything, we were listening to lots of The Smiths, Beach Fossils, and My Bloody Valentine. All of us grew up on punk rock and hardcore music, going to DIY shows in our hometowns and playing in garage bands and all that.
DESCRIBE YOUR LIVE SOUND?
We're a bit heavier live than we are on record. The gain is cranked up a bit and we tend to play faster.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT PLAYING LIVE?
It's a trip, man.
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BEST LIVE GIG YOU GUYS HAVE PLAYED SO FAR?
It's too early to really pick a favorite, but we managed to sell out our first gig. That was very exciting.
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT SHOEGAZE?
Shoegaze is like a warm blanket that might make you deaf.
IS IT A SHOEGAZE REVIVAL OR A REBIRTH? WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THE NEW FILM 'BEAUTIFUL NOISE' AND REUNIONS OF SUCH BANDS LIKE RIDE, SWERVEDRIVER, MEDICINE & SLOWDIVE?
I haven't seen the film, but shoegaze never really went away in my opinion - it just sort of changed forms. I always saw post rock bands like God Is An Astronaut or This Will Destroy You as being an evolution of what bands like Slowdive and Ride were doing. And now you've got bands like Nothing and Whirr who take post rock and shoegaze and mix it with sounds that you'd expect from Neurosis or Isis or something. Hell, there's even Deafheaven who are a black metal band that clearly owe something to Loveless.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT FOR THE WORLD TO HEAR YOUR MUSIC? WHAT KIND OF MESSAGE WOULD YOU LIKE TO SHARE WITH OUR INTERNATIONAL READERS?
I'd prefer to play music instead of having a day job, so please. For all our sakes. Give us a listen, won't ya?
MUSICALLY WHAT ARE YOUR BANDS PLANS FOR THE NEXT YEAR?
Writing, potentially recording a short single soon, and some light touring.
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CAN YOU NAME SOME BANDS FROM YOUR COUNTRY OR ELSEWHERE AS RECOMMENDED LISTENING?
Wildhoney. They're one of the coolest bands on the planet right now.
RELEASE: I Wanna See Everything
RELEASE DATE: 16/03/15
RECORD COMPANY: Unsigned
There is a wealth of postpunk / shoegazing / noise rock talent coming out of New York and surrounding environs at the minute. New York based 'Honeymoon' have a distinct sound full of expressive, layered guitar arrangements, addictive vocals, pounding drums and reverberating bass patterns. Their shoegazing & noise pop tendencies are evident in every track on this latest release but theres a subtle undertone of ethereal dreampop surrounding their vocal effects & arrangements that is absolutely divine and for me it makes them stand out from their peers. They released their debut EP 'I Wanna See Everything' back in March & it actually took me by surprise on my very first listen. The band are Ryan Barnes - drums, Nate Patterson - bass, Rob Scheuerman - guitar & Cait Smith - guitar and vocals. Below is a review of Honeymoon's latest 4 track release - 'I Wanna See Everything'.
The opening track on this 4 track release from New York based ‘Honeymoon’ is nothing short of sublime. The hauntingly beautiful vocal tones of ‘Cait Smith’ surrounded by a maelstrom of effected guitars, steady drums and pulsating bass lines will introduce you to this immense musical outfit and leave you wanting more. At 2 minutes 34 seconds ‘Halo’ is a stunning introduction for anyone new to this band. Check it out:
‘Leaves’ is my favourite track on this release. It has a solid shoegazing / noiserock foundation through its pounding drum pattern and screaming guitar lines but if you listen closely to the vocal arrangement it has a subtle dreampop infused flair, albeit very faint, gracing the tips of its arrangement. It’s another short track but it packs a serious punch and again its expertly executed.
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Track 3 ‘No Danger’ is explosive and I love how the guitar effects are the main protagonist in this tracks structure. They are immense! The guitars loop, arc & swell with aplomb. Again ‘Cait Smiths’ vocals are addictive and carry this track as it moves through sonically brilliant layers of pounding drums and guitars with ease. This is sublime! Check it out:
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The closing track is a subdued affair. ‘I Wanna See’ is an emotive sonic rollercoaster of impressive guitars, hauntingly beautiful vocal tones & steady drum pattern that doesn’t really veer from its opening trajectory at all. It stays solid throughout. It’s a great closing track but I cant help feeling that this band have a lot more in them in terms of songwriting & I cant wait to hear what comes next.
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Del Chaney has spent the last two years not only fronting popular Irish Electronic duo Analogue Wave but also dedicating his time to uncovering the best artists in the Unsigned or Small Independent Label based Shoegaze, Dream Pop, Post-Punk & Post-Rock genre’s of music from all over the globe & reviewing them for this blog - The Primal Music Blog. His other arm - Primal Radio - has gained considerable respect from bands and promoters alike since its conception in 2013 & has hepled him in actively promoting a genre of music that he is passionate about. Hailing from Dublin, Ireland, he is a keen Vinyl Collector, Tattoo Fan & all round good guy! He is a self confessed music freak & is never far away from a studio console or a turntable.