Grandfeathered is Pinkshinyultrablast follow up album on Club AC30, a more experimental pop affair than their debut, a more expansive and layered fuzzy pop sound. Warm swathes of fuzz peeling back to playful Foals esq beats and picks. Chuck in some of Braids’ beauty and some of Boris’ power and you’s got some bizarre, and brilliantly coined “Thunderpop”.
CD £7.99 AC3013012
CD on Club AC30.
Vinyl LP £15.49 AC3013011
Blue vinyl LP on Club AC30.
The problem with making your music ridiculously loud and mastering it to within an inch of its life is that there is absolutely nowhere to go when you want to increase the dynamics. You could go quieter I suppose but Pinkshinyultrablast don't do dynamics, the entire album stays at the same ear threatening level throughout leaving you just feeling tired rather than exhilarated.
They play a kind of ridiculous heavy metal shoegaze with massive riffs, absurd prog rock keyboards and vocals which to be honest for all you hear of them could have been produced by squeaking a dog toy vaguely in time with the music. I hear that Pinkshinyultrablast are an amazing live band and it is easy to tell from 'Glow Vastly' that they could sound pretty thrilling when seen in concert. The production tries to recreate the live vibe by putting large amounts of reverb on the already distorted guitars which sit beneath the Liz Fraser aping vocals. It works well for that song but fast forward to 'I Catch You Napping' and I'm already worn out by the highly compressed sound. The music sounds like it has been squashed into a really tight ball and thrust into your earlobe.
Their compositions are very much like those of the Danish band Mew. They twist this way and that with ridiculous changes of tempo and oddball melodies but in their rush to be so damn loud they've forgotten that you actually need space between the instruments, when they do allow things to calm down on the verses of 'the Cherry Pit' we start to hear the band Pinkshinyultrablast can be with ethereal guitars and sweet vocals combining nicely with complex-a-drums before the adrenalin rush of the chorus kicks in.
Let's go back to 'Loveless' shall we as a blueprint on how to do this music properly. It's not mastered to the hilt, the guitars are nicely separated in the mix and the vocals are actually quite up front and there are shifts in texture between verses and choruses so that when the hooks come they hit hard. This record will appeal to many because it initially sounds mighty impressive but you can't make albums like this and expect to keep peoples attention. Sometimes those who talk the loudest say the least.
6/10 Peter S 1st March 2016
A messy album that compared to last year's excellent 'Everything Else Matters' is a disappointment. Noise pop doesn't just need noise. It shouldn't be about how many sounds you can cram in. If the songs aren't strong enough it just becomes a bit proggy. This band is better than that, as anyone who has been to one of their live shows will tell you.
And whilst there's just enough to keep me interested here, and maybe it's a grower that will bear repeat listens, back in the real world nobody is going to be looking back at Grandfeathered 25 years from now and claiming it bettered Loveless! I've read (and written) some nonsense in my time but that is just unhinged.
8/10 Damian 26th February 2016
I don't know what version of this Clinton was listening to, but to my ears, the dynamics are pretty damn good. Seriously, I've played the vinyl and mp3 versions through my system and it sounds bloody brilliant. The vocals are lovely and detailed, occasionally swooshing back in the mix, in that perfectly acceptable shoegaze way.
The guitars are not the monochromatic 'heavy metal(?)' guileless style-less set the volume to 11 shite as suggested; the closest I could come to was possibly a comparison with Nothing's stunning debut, Guilty of Everything, which does take hardcore/metal guitar and recreates it in a way that the Pale Saints might have done if they'd had the benefit of post rock to influence them. It's not as good as that, but it's pretty close.
And no it doesn't sound like Loveless (and may the Lord be thanked for that small mercy) I much preferred Isn't Anything, to the over-indulged, unlistenable awfulness that is Loveless. I will still be playing Grandfeathered in years to come, for pleasure; rather than Loveless, which I've played for 25 years 'trying to get it'.
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