This review has been updated to reflect the current label selling this album. Not sure exactly what happened, but there you have it. 7/12/2016
If you’re like me, you sometimes get that itch that can only be scratched by some wall-of-sound guitar, drenched reverb, and breathless vocals. And sometimes pulling out that old Loveless, Four-Calendar Café, or Slowdive EP feels a little like chasing the dragon: Meeting an old friend, again, for that same dull buzz and none of the euphoria. Sometimes you just need that new new to spark that life again.
the UK’s Ear to Ear Records Gerpfast Kolektif records feels our pain, and earlier this month released a compilation entitled Revolution — The Shoegaze Revival, a 30-track album that will, in the same amount of time it would take to relisten to those above-mentioned classics, introduce you to 30 current bands at the forefront of the shoegaze revival we’ve talked quite a bit about here at the blog.
A disclaimer: The term “shoegaze” is used quite liberally here, with some literal interpretations of the classic sound we typically associate with the genre, and some acts that fall more squarely into the dreampop category and, even, some that I would consider post-punk, or “60s inspired indie rock.” But that’s the beauty of this compilation: Beyond the exact “sound” of each track, and somewhere hidden below the influences you hear spurring these artists lies a certain je ne sais quoi that effortlessly endears them to the drone-craving ear. After all, in its promo material, the label makes clear that this is in no way an album that attempts to pigeonhole the sound:
This is not a shoegaze tribute album to MBV or Slowdive, or even The Beatles. There is simply so much greatness to the new wave of shoegaze that we’re focusing on original tracks, which showcase the immense talent of the featured bands.
16 nations are represented on the compilation, and that diversity shines in bands like Thud from Hong Kong, Stella Diana from Italy, Germany’s Jaguwar, and the Japanese standout Magao. Blog-favorite Thud‘s track Lime is ethereal and complex while Jaguwar is undoubtedly influenced by My Bloody Valentine with big discordant guitar stabs defining their track, Muffhead. Stella Diana brings an unmistakable post-punk vibe that pairs well with the Welsh act Blood Lips. Magao‘s gorgeous Dive to the Sea features screaming synths and Asian female pop vocals that, when set on top a wall of noise, serve to solidify Japan’s reputation for innovative rock sounds.
Every track on The Shoegaze Revival is worth a second listen, but two hours of music is a lot of music. Also recommended are Digilite (more emo than shoegaze with its soaring melodies), Lights that Change and Intenna (two acts undoubtedly inspired by Cocteau Twins), and Seaside (an Indonesian five-piece with shades of Morella’s Forest and Lush).
All in all a wonderful excursion best enjoyed, as we did, in tiny delicious morsels spread out over a week or so.
Check the embed below: