Ringo Deathstarr continue to carry the 90s revivalism torch as assuredly as any other in the past few years with their new LP Mauve. While nothing new is explored in these thirteen tracks – they wear their influences limpidly on their effeminate chests – the Texan trio achieve exactly what they set out to achieve: poppy shoegaze. Indulgent instrumentals cut no ice on this album as each song has been cut and chopped, leaving a myriad of three minute gems that dive instantaneously into melody; this type of healthy, genial minimalism manifests itself in almost everything, from the barren mauve sleeve to the short one-word song titles.
The music itself shakes off that aesthetic restraint however, in favour of an incredibly dense splurge of visceral noise all tightly packed into those three minute bundles. Alex Gehring, Elliott Frazier and Daniel Coborn make driving drum rhythms and amorous riff-laden guitar skittle across that subtle, ever-present ‘gazey drone; not to mention the archetypal male-female, Kevin Shields-Bilinda Butcher vocal dynamic – all under the aegis of Frazier’s own production. The style in which Alex (the girl) sings is so utterly, bewilderingly in that graceful seraphim style of Bilinda that it’s difficult not to believe that the My Bloody Valentine lass hasn’t left her reclusive family life for another shot at alt rock glory.
And that’s the beauty of this record, because it’s just a wonderful homage to My Bloody Valentine and the Swirlies and Slowdive and the Jesus And Mary Chain; a fan’s record that retains all of the usual shoegaze idiosyncrasies. One of the few distinct lines is the refrain of “please don’t kill yourself” on ‘Please Don’t Kill Yourself’ – is it some esoteric ode about a personal anecdote or a genuine self-deprecating plea to the listener, or some vast all-encompassing philosophy about the secret of life – we’ll never know because so few of the other words are audible, but that’s just how we want it. Everything from the manic reverb to Elliott’s Andrew Reid hair, it’s just a shoegaze orgy and if you like that stuff already then Mauve will just reaffirm that love.
Mauve came out on the 24th Septemeber on Club AC30 records.
By Barney Horner
Dance Yrself Clean