CD £12.49 HW003/WB001
Digipak CD on White Birch/Handwriting, Italian Shoegaze/Ethereal.
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Well, this is a very pleasant CD. It's a collection of warm and immersive shoegaze from a Scot and an Italian who met on the internet and started exchanging recordings a decade ago. They released an album in 2003 and appear to have a new one in the works, but for now they're reminding us of their existence with this odds-and-sods collection of unreleased recordings and cuts from various EPs which were previously only available in very scarce quantities or as download-only releases. This is pretty slow-paced, and generally based around violin, delay-drenched guitar and female vocals. Some of the songs have beats, some just drift by under their own steam. This is definitely a shoegaze record in essence but it's not got that propulsive feel to it that you might expect; there's elements of drone and slowcore, it even has shades of trip-hop in places to my ears. When a groove does turn up, as late as the 13th track, 'La C'est La Voix', it certainly is welcome, with sweeping strings and fingerpicked guitar venturing into Morricone territory while the ethereal vocals keep it from sounding too much like something from an entirely different record. In fact, a few of these songs later on have more of this post-rock feel, much more of an indie rock take on shoegaze instead of the dreamy ambient angle. At their best moments they have a real insidious intensity to them that really catches you off guard, as the textures pile up around one another until you're being swept along by all these dense, milky tones.
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