I’m not yet so sure that there’s a shoegaze renaissance going on, but we suspect that My Bloody Valentine’s recent comeback just might’ve made us all pay a bit closer attention to slow-moving out-of-phase guitars and whispering vocals. I’m pretty certain that Beliefs wrote and recorded the songs for their debut long before mbv’s sudden arrival. It’s also important to state that there’s more to the Toronto duo’s music than the emulation of layered Shield-esq fuzz-guitars.
But the arrival of their self-titled debut couldn’t be simultaneously more timely and untimely. Yes, they are likely to get more coverage in the wake of everybody’s newfound love affair with shoegaze, but at the same time they’re also in the risk of being boxed in as yet another band paying homage to Loveless. Still, judging by the sound of it, they shouldn’t be written off as such. In a way, they avoided all the archetypical pitfalls of emulating a certain aesthetic. They kept focus on the melodies and songwriting more than a construction of a nostalgic sentiment. Underneath all the delayed fuzz, the songs feel naked and vulnerable. Songs like “Lily” and “Carousel” are perfect examples of the duo’s heartfelt songwriting abilities, more in coming with the sedated pop of Slowdive or Mazzy Star than MBV.
The album stand-out “Catch My Breath” is a guitar-heavy affair with actual riffs and audible vocals. It’s their strongest statement on the record, one that surely should tell them apart. The boldly chosen lead single, “Gallows Bird” is a 7-minute epic divided into two parts; the first being the most obvious Loveless-imitation on the album, the second is a grandiose up-beat conclusion; a fitting closer to an impressive debut. Pity though that their greatest achievement didn’t make it on the record. However, we can see why Josh Korody and Jesse Crowe might’ve felt that “Violets” immediate dreamy pop didn’t quite fit the mood of the more guitar-induced tracks on the album. Still, “Violets”, the B-side to “Catch My Breath”, is their most immediate work, placing them amongst the forerunners of the current dream pop frenzy.
- Slowdive – Souvlaki  (ifoundmusic.com)
- My Bloody Valentine – m b v (ifoundmusic.com)
- Toronto’s Beliefs releasing an LP, playing US shows around SXSW (dates, videos, MP3); Heliotropes playing shows too (brooklynvegan.com)
- Shoegaze: a beginner’s guide (guardian.co.uk)