Drowner - Drowner
Back in October we made Houston’s Drowner our New Band of the Day #37. Our faith has been repaid with a record of astonishing strength and beauty.
They don’t do things by halves in Texas. If opener ‘Point Dume’ represents a somewhat chaotic start to proceedings, then ‘Never Go Away’ sees the four-piece, fronted by Anna Bouchard, really hitting their stride. This is gigantic, impassioned shoegaze music, ear-deafeningly loud and sonically breath taking in places. Thankfully, they understand the power of dynamics. For every blistering guitar coda, there are four to five minutes of proceeding - and there really is no alternative but to use that most overused of adjectives here – ‘ethereal’ bliss. Hints of Spiritualized’s lysergic gospel skewer the likes of ‘Wildflowers’ and ‘Tiny Ship’. This lends the record a delicious tension throughout.
There are some bona fide pop moments here too. ‘Chime’ brings to mind Ladytron’s bewitching gloom-pop. The refrains of ‘Written’ and ‘Here’ will be swimming around in your head for weeks. Any suspicion that Bouchard is hiding behind layers of vocal trickery and effects – her voice is multi-tracked up to seventy times at points – is demolished by the former When forefront in the mix she sounds like a cross between Kim Deal and Alejandra Deheza of School of Seven Bells, if the later were a little less polished and precise. The two clunky, curiously dated sounding remixes bringing up the rear end fail to ruin the general air of jubilation surrounding this record.
The shoegaze revival shows no signs of flagging: to be frank, anyone can turn the guitars up and the drums down. However, Drowner seem in possession, potentially, of that rare ability to be able to write songs that actually mean something to people, or are at least imbibed with enough passion to make them sound like they do. Exciting stuff.