Friday 31 May 2013

Review: loveliescrushing - 'Ghost Coloured Halo'

'Ghost Coloured Halo' 

loveliescrushing have an impressive pedigree that dates back to the early 90s when albums such as 'Bloweyelashwish' and 'Xuvetyn' brought their brand of low-fi noise rock to the public's attention. For 2013 the now duo of Scott Cortez and Melissa Arpin Duimstra return with the band's tenth full-length studio album, and first to feature Melissa's distinctive vocals in over a decade.

'Ghost Coloured Halo' is an ambient, highly textured and satisfyingly noisy take on the band's original shoegaze influenced sound. Ambient guitar is filtered through an array of pedals and looped into cavernous soundscapes while Melissa's haunting vocals softly draw the listener's ear. While the fact that this was all recorded live on analogue 4-track recorders, in one long take, makes their dreamlike tonal odyssey all the more impressive.

The strongest pieces on the album 'Darklit And Crow', 'The Wounds That Won't Heal', 'Ghost Coloured' and 'Blacklight Thundering Halo' are prime examples of how blending melody and malevolence should be done. The songs slowly and subtly shift the mood across the album to create a perfect soundtrack for introspective listening. But best of all, for the most part the songs are of an easily digestible length meaning that those new to the band won't be too daunted at the prospect of

Reoccurring sonic motifs serve to tie the songs together. Effects such as heavy reverb give the tracks a nice central drone, and in some cases some semblance of a rhythm. While the pronounced tapes hiss, present throughout, gives the album and almost black metal edge in some places.

'Ghost Coloured Halo' is a sumptuous exploration of post-rock soaked in analogue ambience and hallucinatory drones. The sheer skilfulness of the live sound manipulation here goes to show why lovelicecrushing is a name synonymous with shoegaze.

Impressive as it is though, it still isn't quite the expected revelation, especially when considering the diverse range of ambient acts around today. It does feel like they're holding back somewhat. However it is still a very strong outing for them.

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