With their debut album ‘Everything Else Matters’ it was apparantly sort of a big deal they were Russian. “What? Russian shoegaze?” Pffftt, as if the place you come from necessarily defines what sort of music you can or can’t make. As if great music can’t come from anywhere on this wretched ball of dirt. I mean, it’s 2016, there are no boundaries when it comes to genres and nations. So, I’m not going to make a fuss about their heritage, I’m just going to focus on what’s important. This amazing album.
Amazing it is. I’m not going to say it never happens, but it is very rarely that I get instant goosebumps and I’m instantly smitten with music. No Joy, for instance, is such a band where I had that instant magical feeling of discovering something very special. That ‘this is what I want, this is what I need’ feeling. But here it is again, with Pinkshinyultrablast.
This 5-piece pushes so much of my buttons it’s hard to begin describing this. It’s not quite shoegaze because there’s a lot of indie electronica in it. It’s not quite indierock, because it’s far too noisy for that. It’s not quite dreampop because there’s a lot of math-rock in it. It’s not quite postpunk because of the huge distorted wall of sound.. It is a glorious concontion of all of those things. What works exceptionally well are the transitions between the softer, dreamier parts and the loud, noisy eruptions. At times it sounds almost angelic and at times it feels that there are jumbo-jets flying just a couple of metres above your head. That, and the fact that it has bucketloads of reverb and echo thrown over it. And I love reverb and echo.
A lot of shoegaze is basically just hazy, dreamy blurred guitars (nothing wrong with that, mind you) but Pinkshinyultrablast have layered ‘Grandfeathered’ to the max and there’s just a ton of things going on in every song. Great guitar hooks, a brilliant rhythm section and loads and loads of synths and effects. The dynamic range of everything in general is just spot-on. It is quite remarkable that with all the noise going on that everything stays quite clear at the same time. I know that’s a bit of a contradiction, blurred and noisy and clear at the same time but Pinkshinyultrablast are just unique in that aspect I guess. The cherry on the proverbial icecream is Lyubov’s lovely angelic voice. She’s been compared to Cocteau Twins’ Liz Fraser and I can sort of hear that but I feel she is unique enough by herself and doesn’t really need those comparisons. Sometimes the vocals are barely there, sometimes buried underneath the big wall of sound, sometimes drifting and soaring above it almost like a synthesizer melody. But always lovely, just lovely.
So there we have it, yet again a highlight for 2016 and yes, it’s still only February. I’m very curious to see if they can live up to my high expectations live so here’s hoping that ‘Grandfeathered’ will be followed by a big tour with sold-out venues. Because they sure deserve it..