The main issue that people have been complaining about with shoegaze is that the genre doesn’t know what to do with itself. Bands like My Bloody Valentine, Ride and Slowdive defined the genre and since then not a whole lot has happened. Serena-Maneesh came out with an unrated album in 2006 which did little to get the movement moving again. Moonlit Stay decided to have a stab at it on their album Sober All The Time with some success.
Just because shoegaze contains a lot of distortion, white noise and dissonance some people think it lo-fi. It’s quite the opposite. Loveless is beautifully recorded and produced through top notch analog gear and meticulously crafted. The same goes for the recent Slowdive record.
I wasn’t expecting Sober All The Time to be anywhere close to those two records from an engineering standpoint and it isn’t but give them kudos. I will say the band did a decent job with the tools they had. Some songs fared better than others.
Up first is “Strange Aura” which was a solid song. It's more or less shoegaze 101 around a 4/4 beat and a bed of white noise. The lo-fi demoness started to show itself with the first guitar that comes in “It All Ends Tonight” however it sounds much better when the second guitar enters the picture.The song sounds like it could be a My Bloody Valentine B-side.
Up next is “Ashes To Ashes” where we are introduced to vocals that are expectedly low in the mix and covered in reverb. “Don't Run From Me” has a couple of issues including off-key vocals which didn't mix well but has a couple inspired moments in the instrumental department. The other notable song was “Sobering.”
Moonlit Stay has a little bit of work ahead of them if they want to impress a die-hard shoegaze fan. I think they understand the genre and the songwriting has its moments but the production will need to get to the next level to be competitive with staples of the genre.
Overall, I think they fall into a case of wait and see with potential. I wish them luck on their evolution.
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