Russian psych rockers Gnoomes had access to a bank of presumably indestructible vintage Russian synths when making this record. Experimenting with these beasts has allowed them to marry their stargazing pulsating kraut rock with the sort of brave new world synth exploration found in the back tunnels of the War records back catalogue.
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Look, listen, know: this is the best krauty band of the now. They are fun and poppy and they harmonise. They perpetuate the same thing over and over again with something resembling feeling. They introduce new flourishes and put their methods of hypnosis to bed at the right time. Conditions are perfect when you listen to a Gnoomes record -- they actually know not only how to play their favourite psychedelic genre, but how to not play it.
Gnoomes have followed up their ecstatic but often anonymous-sounding ‘Ngan!’ with another record that often basks in its own landscapes, mixing repeating motifs with thrilling hooks and actually pretty synthlines. Their sound is expansive and emotional at once, though it never sounds personal: rather, in certain melodies, it suggests something to you from beyond, as if you plucked the feeling out of thin air. Phased, glitching ambience is often met with unusual forms of psychedelia, the interlocking beat sounding techno and the revolving door melody buried into the track like an EDM hook. It’s in these ways that Gnoomes sound both familiar and extremely new, accessible but alien.
And, of course, it wouldn’t be a Gnoomes album if it didn’t sound gorgeously clean, to the point where I can't believe that they're kind of actually a shoegaze band. Even when the band stifle their songs with off-kilter rhythms and different shades of texture, their songs find grounding in whistle-clean guitar lines and a sweet lead vocal that’s as clear as a glass of water. Much of this record is about what sound elopes with what in the foreground and background, but being in the middle of it all is just the best experience.
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