THE SHOEGAZE revival has been continuing apace for most of this decade, but there is a key difference between its original late 80s/90s incarnation and its modern manifestation, namely the place of emotion.
The genre's pioneers tended more towards atmosphere, with vocals, often seen as simply another instrument, obscured within layers of guitar effects. Modern practitioners retain the genre's wall of sound guitars, but a direct and open emotionalism is as front and centre in importance as is the music.
Ontario trio Basement Revolver are a good case in point. The guitars burst like layers of static across the album, creating a compressed, dense, heavy sound, yet the poignant, confessional, melodies and words of band singer/leader Chrisy Hurn leave the deepest impression. "Baby I'm so sorry, I'm trying to figure this out," she declares over the grand chorus and waltzing rhythms of opener 'Baby'; "I will never love the way my body looks but that's OK/tell my brain to cool it down," she admits on the bittersweet indie-pop of 'You're OKay'; while the highlight, 'Johnny', a dramatic, deeply poignant indie masterpiece, ends with the repeated declaration: "It's a really bad time right now."
Yet this is no album of maudlin self pity, rather one young woman's emotional journey through the staging posts of her life, with an openness allowing listeners to read their own emotions into the songs, and to take comfort from - regardless of the specifics. While not everything here hits the same heights as the above mentioned songs, and there are some turgid moments ('Dancing', 'Heavy Eyes' ) there is much to welcome with Basement Revolver. Ones to watch.