Influenced by shoegaze acts such as My Bloody Valentine, Ride, Slowdive and The Jesus and Mary Chain, Un.real is the first shoegaze act from Puerto Rico. They had their first show back in 1995 and recently released an EP entitled Epico, which encapsulates some of the essential qualities one would expect from the genre. There are moments that are atmospheric, lush and ethereal as well as times that cover the frequency spectrum with a blanket of white noise and dissonance. While the EP is rooted in shoegaze, it also has influences from post-rock in some songs that build crescendos out of reverb laced guitars that sound as if they were made from the heavens.
The album opens with “Si,” which is a beautiful concoction of mayhem in the form of distortion, feedback and resonance. It forms into a sound that simply takes over your speakers as if it can barely handle the intensity. “Piloto” is the calmness after the storm as it is a lush arrangement of clean guitars, and soft vocals that hang below the mix. It’s a well-written tune that is one of the highlights of the album. “Electroplex” increases the intensity as well as the distortion. It’s an instrumental track that cross-pollinates between metal, shoegaze and post -rock. The layers of guitars is what makes the song fun to listen to. At one moment they are delayed, then clean, then distorted never resting on one sound for too long.
“Somnifero” is a hard-hitting song that keeps things heavy throughout. There were occasional vocals but they might have not even been there because they were so low in the mix. Un.real ends with “Angel ’75,” which is done in classic post-rock fashion. The song starts off clean but as it progresses increases the intensity of the instrumentation for dramatic effect.
Epico is a solid EP that stays true to a proven formula that has worked for the genre. The only criticism I have is I wish the production was a bit better. Other than that fans of shoegaze and post-rock should eat this up.
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