Clouds is, simply put, one of the most addictive albums I’ve heard all year, despite its relaxed attitude and understated charm. This thing slid into my brain and refused to leave.
Singing Statues hit me out of nowhere. Sort of. Truth be told I looked this up out of curiousity while absentmindedly browsing Teebs‘ profile and listening (again) to Ardour. After an afternoon bicycle ride with this brief EP providing the soundtrack, I’m completely sold.
Imagine The Durutti Column (my favorite guitarist, Vini Reilly) hooking up with Flying Lotus, James Blake, Mount Kimbie, or even Bibio or Joy Orbison, and working that liquid guitar magic into some organically throbbing, techno-skirting production and forming something more akin to ‘songs’ than the beat genre usually cooks up. Then realize that this is all done by the man formerly known as Jackhigh: London based Ben Thomas, who with Teebs himself created the exquisite Tropics EP earlier this year. Twisting crushing motorik beats with the tidal dynamic of emotional song structure, each track seems to toy with its own headspace, providing a high definition playground for the listener with discerning headphones turned loud. Opening modestly abstract with a tangible guitar melody, every minute forward turns the energy up a notch and bleeds directly into another style. Each track feels like a natural progression and evolution from the track before; despite being called Outtakes, this 18 minute set has an album’s worth of gravity and vision. Fourth track All At Sea may just be a highlight with its shamanistic tribal/missle percussion section and ear-scraping synth line, but the EP is best heard as a whole. And it leaves me excited for more.
Rumskib are a Danish shoegaze outfit making the kind of straightforward gauzy guitar love spiked with dreamy female vocals that simply hasn’t been attempted, much less achieved, since the beloved genre’s first trip around the sun nearly 2 decades ago.
The fact is, the band does nothing truly new on this, their debut LP. More importantly, they don’t need to, as far as I’m concerned. These 12 tracks run the gamut from billowing dreampop confections in the vein of later Cocteau Twins to the shaggy rock paeons to feedback of Ride or Swervedriver. Never as dark as Codeine or bright as Chapterhouse, they seem to hold some imaginary locus of the shoegaze galaxy. I’ll put it in terms I’d describe to a friend before slipping the disc into my car stereo: The most obvious launch point for these ideas occupies the monolithic elephant in the room: Soon, the stoccato dance-drum propelled, bubbly synth laden closer of Loveless.
Don’t expect the band to top that particular juggernaut and you’ll be well on your way for appreciating this rare gem for what it is: an extremely solid shoegaze epic the likes of which simply aren’t made these days. And a great stopgap while we all wait for Kevin Shields to stop pretending he’s in a coma.