Recollections Of Memory

A Shoreline Dream

Latenight, 2009

REVIEW BY: Vish Iyer


Even though it brims with the angelic resplendence of shoegazer music, A Shoreline Dream (ASD) cannot be contained in such a formulaic bubble. Without defying the essentiality of its core sound, the band seeks a more urgent approach, thereby creating a world of ethereal beauty that is also tense and agitated. Calm and complacent shoegazer music this is not.

In a way that’s not too eccentric, tracks like “The Missing” and “Seattle” on ASD’s sophomore effort, my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Recollections Of Memory, explode with the aggression and rawness of a punk band. The assault of the frantic drums and coarse guitars are discomforting for the band’s psychedelic style, until singer Ryan Policky’s vocals melt into the chaos in perfect unintelligibility, suggesting a completely different kind of ethereal utopia: that of rebellion.

ASD doesn’t traverse into hallucinatory trips of guitar whirlpools. Their music is way too straight-edged for the likes of My Bloody Valentine, and even without creating bombastic, reverberatory noise-candy the style of Jesus And Mary Chain, evoke distortion that blend into the backdrop. But even the dreamiest and most conventional moments of Recollections – the opener “Manhattan Beach” and the closer “Pasadena” – hardly get all that atmospheric and still maintain the tenseness at their most benign. Such is also the case with the seeds of the band’s collaboration with ambient techno producer Ulrich Schnauss – “Hypermode,” “Departure,” and “Neverchanger” – which are not as druggy and pristine as they could have quite easily tempted to be.

For the type of music that is way too restrictive and which has the tendency to relinquish to the forces of monotony fairly effortlessly, shoegazer has been through all the transitions in its few golden years in the early ‘90s alone, and any further variation would inescapably have a lingering taint of familiarity. ASD seems to be conscious of this, and without attempting a disaster to create something totally new, the band has tried to create the same while looking at it through a different prism. Hence, the moody Recollections has traces of the all-too-familiar, but its tight and jagged songs also seem oddly out-of-place in the realm of prettiness in which it resides. This makes Recollections eternally exciting.

Rating: A-

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