Pinkshinyultrablast Everything Else Matters

[Shelflife; 2015]

Styles: shoegaze
Others: Mahogany, Appleseed Cast, Slowdive, A Sunny Day in Glasgow

Russia, land of the tsars… and shoegaze? Apparently. Hailing from St. Petersburg and naming themselves after the classic noisegaze album by Astrobrite (and appropriately dropping their debut album on the 10-year anniversary of said record), Pinkshinyultrablast ride the crest of yet another solid wave of shoegaze albums emerging from this decade, with contributions here by Wildhoney, A Sunny Day in Glasgow, Candy Claws, Jefre Cantu-Ledesma, Belong, and Whirr. It certainly begs the question “What the fuck are they thinking?” — especially now that Slowdive, Swervedriver, and Ride have joined My Bloody Valentine in reuniting and have or will soon be dropping albums. All that’s left is for the rest of the OG shoegaze groups like Chapterhouse, Pale Saints, and Lush to start weighing in, which would make it even harder for any new post-m b v act to even stand a chance. But at least the aforementioned groups have got more going for all of them than just a textbook reiteration of a classic sound. Didn’t think Steve Reich would be a touchstone for shoegaze? Everything Else Matters will set the record straight on that one.

Pinkshinyultrablast certainly do incorporate plenty of the sickly swooning guitar walls of their antecedents, but that’s not what makes them sound unique. Rather, it’s their borrowing of pages from some of the most underappreciated (and least copied) musicians and then duct-taping them together into something different altogether. On Everything Else Matters, the band funnels the Kansas post-rock group Appleseed Cast’s delay-pedal wizardry and open-ended song forms into bright pop that’s more in line with Astrobrite alum Andrew Prinz’s Mahogany. Occasionally, it veers into Music For 18 Musicians-style fractal patterns, shimmering off the ass end of the beautiful “Land’s End.” On the intro to “Metamorphosis,” Lyubov’s vocals ping pong across the stereo field, not unlike some of the more playful work by Daphne Oram with Vera Gray on the BBC compilation Listen, Move, and Dance. And if the overall tone of the album is one of melancholy, can you blame them? A lineage of sadness seems almost inescapable in the land of Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, and Chekhov, Chernobyl and the Cold War. This may not be readily apparent in the colorful guitar sequences, but certainly there in the forlorn vocal delivery.

But “so what?” you say. “I come to TMT to read about the most avant-garde of the avant-garde. I want to hear about what ‘Rarro is up to, maybe read about PC Music, watch a Choco Grinder live performance by ZS, hear who Scott Walker is collab’n with next.” And I hear you. But sometimes, even within the hallowed behind-the-scenes TMT staff boardroom, I get tired. I’m tired even now. Maybe some of the musicians you love so much are too, hence why we get more traditional modes of expression or at least nods to them from even our most exploratory artists, like Dean Blunt sampling Big Star on “Lush” or going all post-Hype Williams/Dean & Inga breakup album with The Redeemer. It’s maybe why FACT was running think pieces on the return of “power ambient” at the tail end of last year. It’s maybe why, seven to eight years later, people are still psyched about 70s synth redux acts like Mark McGuire or why fans are still interested in Klaus Schulze reissues. I’m not suggesting the kind of utterly bullshit “return to rock” that seemed to stifle innovation when The White Stripes and The Strokes were receiving accolades back in 2001 or even the Pitchfork-approved “authentic” (LOL @ authenticity arguments forever) indie rock boom of the mid-00s that brought you The Arcade Fire and Spencer Krug’s many projects. I just think that, if we can talk about the greatness of a myriad of EAI artists and beat tape bedroom producers like we can’t get enough, then we can surly fuck our ears on music like Everything Else Matters for awhile, right?

Links: Pinkshinyultrablast - Shelflife

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