This shoegaze-dream-pop record comes with the baggage of an 18-chapter book’s worth of philosophical musings (not packaged with the LP), so you know it ought to be interesting. Leonard Las Vegas has created the character of Jagmoor Cynewulf, through whom he channels catchy tunes with existential lyrics. CD / LP package on Blackjack Illuminist Records.
7/10 Clinton Staff review, 08 September 2015
Forget the post-rock/shoegaze comparisons and existentialist rantings of the press release and instead think of this as a classic ‘dream-pop’ record -- in that case, you might find much to enjoy.
A quick squizz through the first few tracks reveals a distinct lack of shoegaze - so much so in fact that I’m not sure why it’s brought into the equation at all. Opener ‘Where to Go’ has a lovely chorus which is one part Aha and one part Lotus Eaters….i.e pure ‘80s pop heaven. The album is highly listenable and quite polished. The math rock drums and bass of ‘Checkout and Goodbye’ provide some snark to the overall smoothness, sadly it erupts into a stadium chorus. This more agressive sound continues into ‘Anything But This’ with it’s choppy rhythms and sprawling structure kind of reminding me of Mew.
With twelve varying songs to get through it’s one of those that will need a lot more time than I have here to reveal its secrets but there are several promising moments. ‘Need to End’ has a dark wave synth feel and sweeping chorus that reminds me melodically of the likes of Deus and ‘Give Me Darkness’ is a tuneful delight that will snag the ears of anyone who likes Metronomy. It’s dead poppy like. One to delve into and see what happens but just don’t call it shoegaze.
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- Jagmoor Cynewulf by Leonard Las Vegas
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