Shoegaze is back in a big way with Bleeding Rainbow's release
It’s about time our generation’s indie crowd figured out shoegaze again. With the ever-growing emergence of new wave shoegaze, best exemplified in acts like 2:54 and DIIV, it’s fitting that Bleeding Rainbow should come along with a record intent on exploring every nook and cranny of the genre.
Nowhere is this mission statement more apparent than on _Yeah Right_’s opening track, the lovely “Go Ahead.” Beginning only with two humming chords, lead vocalist Sarah Everton appears as the warmth within the noise as she croons lyrics like, “Some things need change / Nothing stays the same / And then time will stand still but I know it won’t be sincere.”
As the guitars build, Everton’s husband and band co-founder Rob Garcia begins to harmonize with her, activating one ofthe greatest of all secret shoegaze weapons: the effervescent male/female harmony. After almost two minutes of this, the drums drop a simple beat and the guitars get to work crunching and waving around the vocals. It might not sound like it did in 1989, but by the end of the song it’s clear — this is shoe gaze.
Elsewhere on the record, Bleeding Rainbow sets about reviving their precious genre with a variety of tricks. Early highlight “Pink Ruff,” perhaps the best song on here, works an airtight dance beat beneath the band’s torrent of distorted bass and guitars introducing new melodies and feedback with the consistency of late-80s Sonic Youth.
Everton’s vocals prove to be a key component of the band’s freewheeling mixture, injecting emotion into the chaos. Other tracks like “Drift Away” and the excellent My Bloody Valentine throwback “You’re Not Alone” showcase a more classic shoegaze sound, one dominated by whining guitar bends and cavernous reverb.
While not as strong as either of those two, mid-album cut “Shades of Eternal Night” finds the band wielding a fierce riff while Everton channels Bilinda Butcher in the best way possible, only faltering as the band finds no way to top the song’s opening.
Sadly Yeah Right suffers slightly from a case of frontloading, with later songs such as “Cover The Sky” and “Inside My Head,” both of which still feature their share of great riffs and sounds, leaning too much on the repetitive tendencies of shoegaze’s early days.
Even in the album’s weaker stretches Bleeding Rainbow never stops its genre exploration, finding greatness in erratic and wobbly guitar sounds even when the songwriting takes a toll. It all leads up to the perfect ending, however, in the excitingly jagged “Get Lost.”
Nearly the fastest song on the record, “Get Lost” serves as the band’s apotheosis in both sound and direction, finally revealing the true purpose behind this late-80s worship: making shoegaze music you can mosh to.
Stylistically it’s an odd promise given the introspective nature of the genre, and of Yeah Right as a whole. Nonetheless, “Get Lost” is proof that the promise of danceable shoegaze is one the band can live up to.