ARTIST: Andrew Younker
RELEASE DATE: 2nd February 2017
RECORD COMPANY: Unsigned
While many of us were in a turkey coma over the festive season, Andrew Younker appears to have experienced a bout of intense productivity. He's created an impressive 6 track EP that builds on the woozy sonic foundations of 'Brainchild' (released November 2016). Andrew's voice and approach somehow make me think of Sufjan Stevens, it's probably more my perception than reality, but sometimes that's how it goes. The aesthetic is familiar, with washes of beautiful noise given direction mainly through the insistent bass. There's a strong electro feel, but plenty of organic noises too. 'Microchasm' is available to buy/download right now from andrewyounker.bandcamp.com
Microchasm by Andrew Younker
The resolute rhythm of Electric Chair sets the pace for the EP, the bassline pushing the song along pleasingly, while the guitars swirl about somewhere up above. Totaled Ambulance's post punk feel with its reverby snare sound and, of course, that bass bowling along in its icy beauty, nods to the 80s. Multi-layered melodies shine through Eyes Turn Blue. The gritty but glorious guitars glow with restrained power, as does Andrew's voice. There's a change of feel with Down The Stairs which in contrast to the immaculate construction of earlier tracks seems freer, with an almost psychedelic guitar line.
A monotone robotic voice sings plaintively in Sophisticated, which soon merges in into Pretend Therapist. Again the 80's influences are clear, but Younker's tastes are impeccable, every sound carefully selected and placed perfectly. Microchasm is an interesting step in Younker's musical development, exuding a cultivated chilliness. Can't wait to hear where he goes next.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
In her time, Sarah Cuthbert-Kerr has attended raves and rock clubs. She enjoys pedals, pizza and spy dramas. Sarah also plays guitar in Edinburgh-based noisemakers Wozniak and is co-founder of Morningside Young Team who put on gigs and put out records for discerning audiences who enjoy fuzz and confusion.
by Primal Music
ARTIST: By Night With Spear
RELEASE: Seeing In The Dark
RELEASE DATE: 13th January 2017
Just as its cover art, the musical contents of 'Seeing In The Dark' by New York based shoegaze/dream pop band 'By Night With Spear' is vividly beautiful and colorful in a contemplative and distant style. Spread over the course of an album, 'By Night With Spear' explore every corner of dream pop and shoegaze music; generally guided by the beautiful and talented vocal performances and singing that adds another dimension to the sound in context with the genre. In a weird way its almost a light version of blackgaze; where guitars and drums remain steadfast in creating wall of sounds for the vocals to hover over. However, in this case, the guitars are less heavy and the drums never break into a blast beat; but the music remains strong and full frontal, creating a wall of sound of melody and musical colors that deserve both praise and recognition.
Seeing in the Dark by By Night With Spear
‘Starlight’ opens with the surge of light, fluffy, dream pop inspired guitars and the slow rattle and roll of the drumming. The vocals slowly seep into the mix; high and wavering in a pitch a kin to musical warmth and brightness. It displays a beautiful, well-written chorus that’s an album highlight. ‘Starlight’ follows into 'Twenty Nights’ that slows things down slightly and introduces more shoegaze elements into the bands sound with feedback inspired guitar backings and heavier/pounding drums in the back of the mix. The outro section, where the vocals rise even higher, adds more emphasis on the musical blending that occurs through the production. ‘Blue Rider’ is another slow, sensual and emotive piece of music making. Perhaps more so than previous tracks, it showcases By Night With Spear’s ability to create music of pure beauty and adoration. Between the rolling drums that set the scene, to the blue-sky feel of the guitars, the song captures a moment of complete bliss and categorizers the band as one whose music conjures images of beaches, of the cool, colorful sand and water as the sun dips to the horizon; it’s something only truly fantastic dream pop bands can do. Impressive.
‘Moving Projections’ turns the mood post-punk with double tap snare and a heavier atmosphere. The guitars take a step deeper and the whole song turns somewhat darker than the previous tracks. Meanwhile, the vocals remain at their great heights; creating a mesmerizing and interesting counterpoint to the tone of the music and instrumentation of the song. The album highlight, in my opinion, is ‘Martyr’, which builds upon the aforementioned powers and elements of ‘Blue Rider’ to create a visionary piece of dreamy shoegaze music that attends to all the essential things that dream pop music should make you feel: contemplative, wandering and a deep sense of yearning for the past. ‘Given’ combines the elements of alternative dream pop music with the darker touch of ‘Moving Projections’ style post-punk, and rounds it off with a flavor akin to indie pop music. The drums bounce around, while the guitars play in accompaniment to the once-again beautiful vocals. The instrument and vocal performances are outstanding, especially the vocals, as is the production and the overall mixing.
Dream pop is a difficult genre to get right in the modern age of the Internet and connectivity. In it’s humble origins of the 80’s, many bands were praised for their unique musical style and techniques within the genre. With the emergence of the Internet and a worldwide musical grand interest in dream pop music, so many bands try hard to create something unique or interesting to step out from the crowd of mediocrity. By Night With Spear, much like the fantastically reflective guitar tones of Pastel Coast, succeed in this leap from the crowd; creating a kind of dream pop album that utilizes beauty and reminiscence in place of fancy FX and wild production techniques that amount to boredom and self-indulgence. But simultaneously, 'Seeing In The Dark' is far from being over-intellectualized or avant-garde in the contextual elements of its genre, and it could easily be an introduction to dream pop and a more refined shoegaze for a listener who hasn’t been listening to it all the while. It’s an engaging listen, primarily created through the grand avenues of performance, mixing, production and sound.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Cam Phillips is a writer and above all, a music lover, who seeks to gain experience through writing and listening. He is also an avid film viewer and art and literature junkie who enjoys creative writing. His most recent published work was featured on the Australian heavy music blog, I Probably Hate Your Band.
ARTIST: Electric Floor
RELEASE DATE: 6th March 2017
RECORD COMPANY: Vipchoyo Sound Factory Records
Cosenza based new wave/synth-gaze trio 'Electric Floor' have announced their highly anticipated new EP 'Fader' released via the ever prolific Italian based independent record label 'Vipchoyo Sound Factory'. With a sound that echoes the experimental side of post-punk melded together with the darker side of new wave and underpinned by a modern electronic edge 'Electric Floor' have the ability to push the sonic envelope with their music. The band were formed in 2009 and are made up of Emanuele Chiarelli - vocals/guitar, Simone Costantino De Luca - programming/keys & Fabio Cosentino - bass. 'Fader' gets its full release on the 6th March 2017 and is available to pre-order on various formats right now from vipchoyo-sound-factory.bandcamp.com
Electric Floor -FADER- by electric floor
The EP opens up with it's lead single 'Bluedive'. It charges into the sonic ether on a bedrock of driving bass frequencies and sequenced percussion as the bleep and whirr of synth squall echoes deep within a bubble of reverberation. It's vocals are placed meticulously to the fore as all around them swirl in a kind of sonic gravitational pull, looping and arcing through waves of shimmering synth swells and subliminal guitar lines. 'Bluedive' is a feast of melodious frequencies that are guaranteed to thrill. Up next, 'Sullen Dress' shimmers and swirls in a haze of jittering synth draped with a modern dream pop twist. Beautiful guitar lines dance and shimmy along sequenced percussion deftly cushioning that impressive vocal line, underscored at times by duel backing vocals and soaring instrumentation. 'Borderline' pulses and fizzes along turbulent synth swells, the throbbing hum of bass frequencies and undulating sequenced percussion. It builds in momentum, swinging into massive swathes of reverberation and dragging distinctly passionate piano stabs and another brilliantly executed vocal with it as it jumps off into the ether. Stunning production underscores some impressive instrumentation here as it weaves and bobs along its predestined melancholic course, skimmed at times by soaring guitar lines.
Up next, the EP unleashes it's penultimate piece and probably my favourite track on the entire release. 'M31' surges into audible range on cascading baselines, sequenced bleeps and whirrs and steadying percussion. It's vocal lines sweep in, catching this listeners attention before scooping him off his feet only to then soar into the ether accompanied by soaring waves of instrumental laced reverb and raging guitars. 'Electric Floor' have a unique ability to squeeze so many different genres into one complete sound and it is really evident on 'M31'.There are hints new wave, dream pop, subtle layers shoegaze and driving post-punk coursing through this tracks inner core that make it the stand out track for me. The EP then closes out with 'Nosedive'. It's probably the most modern sounding electronic track on the EP if I'm honest but it does have some incredible bass lines running through its central spine and it finishes in spectacular fashion, as all of it's separate components amalgamate into one driving sonic maelstrom. A decent ending to a rather interesting EP.
Del Chaney has spent the last four years dedicating his time to uncovering the best artists in the unsigned or small independent label based shoegaze, ethereal dream pop, post punk, post rock & modern psych rock from all over the globe & reviewing them for this blog - The Primal Music Blog. He is also a contributing writer for The Sound Of Confusion (Now On Hiatus). His other arm - Primal Radio - has gained considerable respect from bands and promoters alike since its conception in 2013 & has helped 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.
Pulsing shimmering melody & effortless melancholy into raging torrents of intermittent fuzzy noise isn't something to be taken lightly. It's a difficult process to get right and takes somebody with serious song writing & production skills to it pull off. That being said, Irish based noisy post-gaze trio 'Easy Tide' have managed to do it in spades on their latest single aptly titled 'Denim On Denim'. The band are made up of Aaron Dunphy, Steven Rafferty & Mark Carolan and they collectively create beautifully honest soundscapes that meander through swathes of reverberation and intense fragility that at times hangs on a very fine sonic thread before exploding into bouts of blissful frequential noise. 'Denim On Denim' is the bands first outing of 2017, the track follows from the release of their 2016 debut LP 'Ennui' and the following singles ‘Tea Party’ and ‘Mind Your Head’.
'Denim On Denim' leaves you with no place to hide. It pulls on your heart strings with it's deeply intense melancholic vocalisations straddling jangling guitar progressions and the constant hum of bass frequencies. It's rickety percussive swagger swings menacingly as the track builds and ebbs through passages of noisy instrumentation before exploding into it's grand sonic finale.
Fuzz Club Records mainstays and Berlin (via Manchester) based dark psych/post-punk outfit 'The Underground Youth' have unleashed the second single entitled 'Amerika' from their highly anticipated eight studio album brilliantly titled 'What Kind Of Dystopian Hellhole Is This?'. The album is penned in for a February 15th launch date with various formats officially going up for pre-order via www.fuzzclub.com. The band have also announced a European tour to celebrate it's release starting this month and you can check out their full tour schedule by heading over to facebook.com/TheUndergroundYouth.
'Amerika' drones into earshot accompanied by twinkling instrumentation, whirring feedback and the hollow thrum of sequenced percussion. It stalks and skulks in a densely oppressive sonic fog as Craig Dyer's addictive vocals swirl menacingly in the sonic ether. This is a triumphant slice of psychedelically charged post-punk that's sure to to attract new and old fans alike.
ARTIST: Mirror Days
RELEASE: No Hope For Getting Better
RELEASE DATE: 31st October 2016
Soft, dreamy and influenced by a myriad of different sounds, LA based dream pop/shoegaze/soft rock recording project Mirror Days go into complete introspection and release a beautiful album which sounds like a kind of matured re-structuring of music featured on their EPs from the past. No Hope For Getting Better presents itself in a kind of meditative subtleness; never trying to sound too full or dense but instead creating a mesmerizing deep sound that resonates and plays out with a different kind of heaviness. Part- laid back beach inspired hipster dream, part introverted reconciliation, part directed self-expression, the album comes off as a kind of dazzling diamond of a piece of music; so beautiful and clean, but at times so shiny you can’t totally see into it… In a good way, of course.
No Hope For Getting Better by Mirror Days
The album opens with the breezy but aforementioned type of heavy ‘In Focus’ which is built around a calm and contemplative vocal FX and the slow roll of soft rock instrumentation, until the pounding drums enter into the background which turns the song into a more dream pop key. Lyrically the song takes the shape of the projects name as the vocals send their time questioning, wondering and humbly musing in a kind of reflective manner. The more shoegaze but utterly brilliant ‘Endless’ follows, featuring a more drowned vocal performance; adding a kind of post-punk element to the music. All the instruments join in an imaginative sound to step above vocals; making them sound heavier and deeper. The whole song, however, forms around the beautiful and rich instrumentation that makes it a step above what it could have been. ‘Left to Wander’ features more of a similar kind of instrumentation to previous tracks but adds another layer with a more poppy sound. It also seems to build upon the aforementioned dash of post-punk by incorporating more a coldwave sounding guitar and post-punk inspired bass riff. What makes it one of the albums highlights is again its tone and distinctive sound; the vocals and lyrics seem even more studious in content, again evoking the undercurrent and thematic elements of a more dream pop sound. This track is followed by ‘Time Won’t Heal You’, a shoegaze heavy song which begins with a shoegaze melody coupled with the dream pop aesthetic explored previously on the album. Impressive and well produced and mixed drumming holds the sound together while the guitars snake their way through the soundscape texture of the song. All the while the vocals extend into phrases that follow the instruments around and create interesting contrasts for the listener.
‘Low’ is an enjoyable and noteworthy interlude that features in just the right place for the album to flow and continue in the desired way. ‘Old Beginnings’ is a good, straightforward song but only continues the sound and tracks that have featured on the album before it, making it less impressive. That’s, of course, not to say it’s not a well written song, but it is definitely not one of the best on the album. Driving guitar opens the song ‘Spinning’. Its more melodic heavy sound gives it a hypnotising quality; couple this with the distant lyrics and moody air of the track and you have a song that is far away from the soft rock-beach aesthetic at the beginning of the album. ‘Spinning’ dives straight into the ocean, now dark and deep, to move away from its past while keeping one eye firmly in its preverbal rear-view mirror. ‘Rest Assured’ seems like the character or voice within the previous songs has finally made a decision of sorts. What kind of decision? What is the decision about? I have no idea. But as the most colourful and ‘least heavy’ song on the second side of the album it seems that the core tone has altered back into a more relaxed sound; slow and inward in a different form. These elements all join together to create a picture and ultimately to make the listener revaluate all the previous songs; to consider them in a different kind of light. No Hope For Getting Better thus presents itself together with this loose yet interesting concept involving regret and pondering of the past. And just as the album soothes with its opening chords and notes of a soft rock style sound, the complexion of the music swells into a whirl pool of darkness, depth and heaviness throughout the second half; ultimately culminating with the more considerate ‘Rest Assured’, bringing the entire album into a kind of full circle. A fantastic and engaging element of the music is that said content doesn’t only appear as a lyrical feature. In fact, the music and instrumentation pushes this kind of concept and emotive experience more so than the lyrics on a lot of moments on this album, and when it’s not just the music, it’s the music combining and contrasting the lyrics in a beautiful way.
Overall almost all the songs themselves remain enjoyable without featuring in between other songs on the album. Mirror Days talent of combining genres such as dream pop/shoegaze/soft rock/post-punk and alternative rock showcases the projects tight and impressive performance and song writing skills. It was mentioned in the PR kit for this release that the album features no electronic instruments; an extremely noteworthy feature as many bands program this and that to achieve sounds in a synthetic manner. Rather, like the music and the lyrics, the instruments come pure for the listening experience. An experience which is assisted with brilliant low key production and a type of mixing that saves the heavier drums from drowning out other instruments in a song. The projects actually talent with playing said instruments is also immensely impressive and can be heard through the magnificent production and sound.
ARTIST: Strata Florida
RELEASE: Falling From Grace
RELEASE DATE: 25th November 2016
RECORD COMPANY: Cherry Red Songs
Wales based dream-gazers Strata Florida released their beautiful sophomore album to the masses back on the 25th November 2016. 'Falling From Grace' is the highly anticipated follow up to the brilliant 'Made of Stars'(Saint Marie Records) and although it peels away much of the distortion that we had previously heard on the aforementioned album it takes absolutely nothing away from the songwriting prowess of both Louise Trehy & Peter Pavli. Louise returned to music after a 20 year hibernation having previously graced the underground music scene as a member of 4AD darlings 'Swallow'. She joined forces with Peter Pavli (High Tide, Robert Calvert, Third Ear Band, Annette Peacock) to form Strata Florida and they continue to release immense sonic soundscapes. 'Falling From Grace' is available to buy/download right now from strataflorida.bandcamp.com
Falling from Grace by Strata Florida
In a blissful array of stunning instrumentation the opening bars of ‘Caroline’ breathe shimmering frequencies out into the musical ether with delicious aplomb. Louise Trehy’s ethereal vocalisations float effortlessly on a wave of dreamy reverberation as the swirling guitar track and the repetitious sequenced percussion collectively instil a surreal kind of calmness to proceedings. Up next, ‘Vital Signs’ pulses into audible range on sequenced synth swells and tremulous guitar squall. Again, the haunting tones of Trehy are ever present as they swirl and meld into a cascading chorus break, deftly underscored by some fascinating layered guitar work, the bleeps & whirr’s of electronic atmospherics and sparse percussive hits. ‘Emily Bronte’ fizzes into earshot on an post-punk inspired bass line & luscious synth swells. The metronomic drum track takes up a kind of holding pattern, like a musical anchor, as all around it soars into the ether on wave after wave of beautifully golden sonic frequencies that are drenched in blissful reverb. A stunningly refreshing track indeed.
Up next, ‘Frozen’ is filled with boundless energy, allowing it’s woozy guitars to hold court and to gracefully shimmer as sparse sequenced percussive hits and throbbing bass frequencies act like bedrock to support those refreshing vocalisations. ‘Lost In Space’ trembles as it’s guitars jangle and shake on a steadying drum pattern that collectively builds with each progression until eventually breaking down into it’s cascading synth filled finale whilst the brilliant ‘Honey’ unfurls it’s sonic tendrils and transforms itself into a musical mash up between The Cure & Cocteau Twins. ‘Honey’ is a stunning track, deliciously filled with soaring instrumentation and blissfully translucent vocal lines.
The albums penultimate track is by far the heaviest on the entire release. Tremulous guitars and melodious bass lines sit atop a steadying drum pattern as Louise’s otherworldly vocalisations pulse from a different sonic plane than ours. Like a ghostly apparition the brilliant ‘Falling’ instils a surreal calmness as it works through it’s sonic repetitions and on into its grand finale. The albums closing piece is a brilliant slice of modern day post-punk. ‘Don’t Give Up On Me’ shudders on a driving bass line as swirling vocals and snaking lead guitar licks circumnavigate that repetitious percussive pattern. Underscored with electronic atmospherics and subtle synth swells ‘Don’t Give Up On Me’ is an absolute triumph and quite possibly my favourite track on this entire release.
There's an air of invincibility surrounding Strata Florida's music that is both enthralling and addictive all at once. Louise Trehy draws her listeners into every single track with her distinctive ethereal vocal style whilst instrumentally the band create well though out, layered soundscapes that act as a sonic conduit to deliver dreamy shoegaze & post-punk inspired sound.
Del Chaney has spent the last four years not only fronting popular experimental Irish based electronic duo Analogue Wave but also dedicating his time to uncovering the best artists in the unsigned or small independent label based shoegaze, ethereal dream pop, post punk, post rock & modern psych rock from all over the globe & reviewing them for this blog - The Primal Music Blog. He is also a contributing writer for The Sound Of Confusion. His other arm - Primal Radio - has gained considerable respect from bands and promoters alike since its conception in 2013 & has helped 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.
Fuzz Club Records mainstays and Berlin via Manchester based dark psych/post-punk outfit The Underground Youth have unleashed the first single entitled 'Alice' and it's gritty accompanying video from their highly anticipated eight studio album brilliantly titled 'What Kind Of Dystopian Hellhole Is This?'. The album is penned in for a February 15th launch date with various formats officially going up for pre-order this week via www.fuzzclub.com They have also announced a European tour to celebrate it's release starting in January and you can check out their full tour schedule by heading over to facebook.com/TheUndergroundYouth.
'Alice' surges with dark sullen energy as it's melodious fuzzy bass frequencies weave & bob in and out of those highly infectious lead guitar lines. Subdued metronomic percussion and hauntingly good synth swells add tons of atmosphere as Craig Dyer's vocalisations hold court, keeping you transfixed on his impressive gothic tone.
RELEASE: Strange Weather
RELEASE DATE: 25th March 2016
RECORD COMPANY: St Marie Records
Experimental, cinematic post-gazers ‘deardarkhead’ formed in Atlantic City, New Jersey, back in 1988. The band have released five recordings on their own label ‘Fertile Crescent Records’ & released the sensational ‘Strange Weather’ , their latest 6 track instrumental, via the wonderful ‘Saint Marie Records’ on March 25th 2016. The band consists of Kevin Harrington on Guitars, Robert Weiss – Drums & bassist Kevin McCauley, who came on board in late 2010 after the departure of longtime singer/bassist Michael Amper! Influenced by Cocteau Twins, The Cure, Echo & The Bunnymen, The Chameleons, Joy Division, The Jesus and Mary Chain, The Church, The Psychedelic Furs & The Beatles, to name but a few, the overall ‘deardarkhead’ sound can be described as a stunning mixture of old school melodic post-punk, intrinsically intertwined with driving moody psychedelic shoegaze & edged with a beautiful euphoric dream pop swirl. Although completely instrumental, ‘Strange Weather’ oozes style & structure. It soars in just the right places & sulks like a scorned love sick teenager when required.
‘Strange Weather’ opens up with the impressive ‘Falling Upward’. A swirling drone precedes a monstrous build as we’re treated to a post-punk masterclass. Immense drums & throbbing bass lines lead the charge as shimmering reverberating guitar progressions loop and arc all over the musical canvass. Up next, a steadying drum beat that ushers in the jangling early 90’s sounding ‘Sunshine Through The Rain’. This track is packed full of stunning melodic guitar lines that swirl & coil around that impressive drum & bass progression with ease. Although instrumental throughout, you can actually hear in your head just where the vocal parts should be & for me this lets my imagination run wild and adds to the overall expectancy. Track three ‘Juxta Mare’ explodes onto the musical ether with stunning effect. Musically reminiscent at times to the heavier soundscapes created by ‘Lush, Bleach’ or ‘For Against’, ‘Juxta Mare’ swerves through heady shoegaze inspired peaked crescendos & no nonsense hard hitting post-punk lows. A thundering drum pattern firmly fixed to the earth but holding firm to layered, soaring guitars heralds the arrival of ‘March Hares’, track four on this impressive release whilst track five ‘Ice Age’ has soaring atmospheric flair & hints of experimental ambient post-rock coursing through its inner core. The albums closer ‘Thinking Back’ harkens back to the early 1990’s with its sweet, shimmering guitar lines & cymbal heavy drum progressions. Again you can hear the ‘apparitional vocal line’ quite clearly through the intense but insanely beautiful production.
‘deardarkhead’ collectively create beautiful, hazy, experimental soundscapes. The band have previously mentioned on various social media sites their desire to employ a vocalist again at some stage in the future. Im not too sure they need to? For me, I just loved imagining the vocal melody as the music looped and soared through every single chord progression & I personally think that instrumentally they have something really special going on.
‘Strange Weather’ was officially released on 25th March 2016 & is available right now from ‘Saint Marie Records’ – www.saintmarierecords.bandcamp.com
ARTIST: Stella Diana
RELEASE DATE: 29th April 2016
RECORD COMPANY: Vipchoyo Sound Factory
Back at the end of 2014 I was presenting an online radio show covering shoegaze and its many sub-genres when I came across a fantastic little Italian based band who fused a plethora of musical genres together to create something rather special. This collective of Neapolitan musicians melded together a heady brew of driving post-punk, melodic dream-pop and hazy shoegaze to produce musical soundscapes so mesmerising that they literally took my breath away. Stella Diana optimise everything that is great with the underground Italian shoegazing scene and they have been steadily building up a massive worldwide fan base every since those early radio show days. Now the band have returned with a blistering full length follow up to 2015’s stunning five track EP ‘Alhena’ via Vipchoyo Sound Factory Records. This new album is called ‘Nitocris’ and it is another positive step in the evolution of a band who may be involved in this reinvented shoegazing scene right now, but who also have the ability to stand out on their own ‘musically’ as we spin into the sonic unknown.
Nitocris by stella diana
The album opens up with ‘Sofia’. Shimmering guitar lines usher in the atmospheric synth swells as the track pushes ripples into the sonic waves around it. It shuffles on a sold bed of percussion as it builds into a wall beautifully golden intensity. Vocally sublime, it unleashes a layered wall of reverberating brilliance and announces the return of a band on the cusp of greatness. Track two, ‘M.9’ is musically reminiscent of ‘Slowdive’ with its emotive walls of reverb until that impressive vocal line adds a subtle injection of brilliant post-punk. It explodes into its chorus progressions with aplomb intertwining with that melodic bass line that adds addictiveness into proceedings. Thoroughly enjoyable. Up next the dark and brooding ‘F.u. Orionis’ musically screams early ‘Cure’ at me as it works through its sonic gears, skulking like a sullen love sick teenager before its soaring chorus parts usher in Stella Diana of old. This is modern day post-gazing at its very, very best and possibly my favourite track on this entire release.
Swirling, droning frequencies circumnavigate that tremulous guitar structure as whispering vocals stream into audible range. Like some sort of modern day Sci-Fi soundtrack the shuffling percussion and throbbing baseline of ‘Sulpher’ carries that impressive vocal like a sonic chariot ambling into battle. This is a beautifully atmospheric track that heaps layer upon layer of sonic frequencies on top of each other to create a blissful wall of golden hued sound. Up next, ‘Aphrodia’ is reminiscent of ‘Drive Blind’ era RIDE with its heavy bass frequencies & shuffling drum patterns coupled with those fuzzy guitars and that barely audible vocal progression. Its only when the synth swells arrive that you get intense attack on your senses and you begin to hear everything in brilliant sonic technicolor. Track six begins with a stunning baseline! ‘Psychedelic Furs’ is stuffed to the brim with melody. This for me is the that ‘Next Step’ in a bands evolution that I previously spoke about! ‘Psychedelic Furs’ is a completely new side to Stella Diana. It’s song structuring and every single instrument swirling within it is geared towards melody, with the studio gadgetry shaved back and the fuzzy guitars withheld Stella Diana are free to express themselves in a whole new light. It’s a brilliantly written track and worthy of your ears.
Up next is the first single to be lifted from the album. ‘Dedu’n’ is a bass driven atmospheric monolith that skips through multiple layers of reverberating guitar frequencies with aplomb. It’s pounding drum patterns and subtle synth swells carry the entire track as the vocal hangs in a haze of suspended animation and is laid bare for all to hear. The albums penultimate track is called ‘Aya Ray’. A beautifully melodic and thoroughly addictive bass line is this tracks centre piece as all around it shimmers and meanders through intense layers of fuzzy reverberating guitars. Again, the vocals are impressive and the drum track grounds the entire piece as the track skips through an apocalyptic post-punk world, littered with the bones of past shoegazing stalwarts! The albums closer builds from its very first notes. ‘J. Carpenter’ has obvious cinematic connotations as it heaves and lurches through its reverberating layers of hazy atmosphere. There’s an air of post-rock emanating from it too, as instrumentally it swirls around that brilliant vocal sample and carries on into its stunning finale. A fitting end to a game changing album!
Bravo, Stella Diana!
The ‘Nitocris LP’ Had it's official release on the 29th April 2016 via Vipchoyo Sound Factory Records and is available to buy/download right now from: stelladiana.bandcamp.com