Gnoomes hail from far Russia, in a region previously used as a place of exile. Isolation can be a bad thing, but it can also bring people closer (and allow them to make loud noises without complaints). Hence, Gnoomes, who are a close-knit space-rock band devoted to transcending through gorgeous musical sprawl. Debut on Rocket Recordings.
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- Ngan! by Gnoomes
9/10 Robin Staff review, 14 October 2015
For better or worse, psych rock looks over the horizon. Western bands absorb the musical customs of cultures they’ve never belonged to, mix up different phenomenas and stir them together ‘til they’re all one mushy conglomerate. Contain a bunch of disjointed ideas in swirling riffs and an inescapable echospace and you’ve got a show, right? In recent years, a host of bands have used different cultural versions of psychedelia for aesthetic purposes, so it’s nice to see a band like Gnoomes, who seek to connect their own heritage with others. Hailing from Perm -- a cut-off Russian city used as a place of exile for rebels in the 19th century -- they attempt to create music around isolation, around what it feels like to be a thousand odd miles from centre of things.
‘Ngan!’ is a gorgeous but strangely anonymous record, using psychedelic hypnosis as a crutch but texture as expression; unlike a lot of this year’s psych jammers, it feels like Gnoomes are trying to communicate songwriter truths, often invoking a plaintive dream pop to go with the space music; not only lyrics, but the heartbroken harmonies that carry their weight. The record’s opener, “Roadhouse”, stretches through elegiac guitars into a more standard-fare bout of psych interplay, but it seeks resounding melodies rather than sore repetition. “Myriads” wraps a song within a jam, letting both play out and often tailing verses into locked psych grooves. “Moognes”, meanwhile, traverses the kind of sparkled shoegaze of Pinkshinyultrablast alongside stoner-crushed guitars worthy of Acid Mothers Temple. It soars and then crashlands, this record, offering highs and lows like no ordinary album in this mould would.
Maybe I’m just projecting my own gripes with London centrism and having to deal with shitty Northern rail, but Gnoomes’ story about geographical isolation speaks to me. It helps that ‘Ngan!’ has been built for feelings: post-rock ambient scrapes, groovy, upswinging basslines and vocals that soar through empty skies. It’s a hard thing for a psych rock band to pull at the heartstrings while simultaneously sounding far away and unreal, but these four tunes do the thing; "My Son" does it the most, climaxing from one locked-down suite to another of a marching, unquenchable beat. Uh. Gorgeous?
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