Tim Jenkins and Tom Crandles return to the Felte label for their sophomore full length as Au.Ra. For fans of Slowdive, Pale Saints, Primal Scream, Cultivations has grown from Au.Ra’s previously successful formula of not rushing things and letting things take shape. This heady, airy and freeing shoegaze sound is the result, unforced but nurtured.
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I'm always interested to listen to these albums supposedly influenced by Pale Saints, Ride, Slowdive etc but that are primarily synth based. This second album by the Australian band is lush chill wave that is pleasant in a sort of hypnogogic way but I can't hear any shoegaze in it other than in the AR Kane style guitar effects and the fact that it drifts. It sounds to me more like the 80s influenced synth pop of Empire of the Sun albeit not as cheesy nor as ridiculous as that band. There is a much bigger dance influence here that recalls the likes of the Orb and Underworld over which they write their fuzzy synth pop.
There's some good stuff here - 'Above the Triangle' begins brilliantly before the band realises they don't have much except a catchy chorus full of squelchy synths and...I concede there are moments later in the album that have elements of shoegaze with the effected acoustics and heavily reverbed production. Au.Ra have elements of shoegaze in their sound but it's not actual shoegaze. Just giving you the heads up about this. I'd say Empire of the Sun meets AR Kane if you want an easy catch all comparison to remember.
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