By very definition, the shoegazing genre is that of the introvert; the art of carefully placing a word between trenches of distortion whilst letting the guitars do the emotional lifting.
Equal / Opposite is a menacing display of juxtaposition, daunting by way of its might but with the tension alleviated by the bounce in its step. The infiltration of sound is made resolute by its sturdiness, as though every note played and every drum struck is needing to permeate feet-thick concrete walls, yet there’s a fun and frantic quality that seeks to downplay the opposing terrors like a presentation-giver imagining his glaring peers stripped down to their whities.
In the 16-odd years since Braid invigorated a generation of jaded teenagers with ‘Frame and Canvas’, an LP which regularly creeps-in alongside American Football and EndSerenading on many a ‘pioneering emo records’ Tumblr list, a lot has changed.
The songs are as laid back as deck chairs, and they sway like slow-motion revellers bathed in the dwindling heat of a setting sun – but should you allow yourself to become lulled and write this off as a nonchalant frolic, you risk being claimed by the dark waves that approach once that sun has dipped below the horizon.
There are several overcast moments on this 12” split where you start to feel trapped against the grain, moments where you almost buckle under the pressure.
A glance at the surreal artwork that adorns When Plants Turn into Stones, a featureless man in shadow made up of twisting branches and rugged bark, reveals much about O’s patient and monolithic approach to music.
The elements have been the subject of song since man first learned to walk upright, and insomuch, there’s something poetically primeval about a record devoted entirely to winter and its charms. It feels awestruck, and the glazed eyes have been frozen in place.
That being said, Indoor Cities are exactly what a great math-rock band sounds like. They approach with flair, no doubt, with polyrhythms out the ass and spindling guitars fizzing and popping in omnidirectional flourishes at the drop of a hat, but it’s never their only hand.
As familiar as we now are with James Joys and his grain of skewed, world-weary electronic music, as expectant of the oil-laden nature of his craft, Devil, Repent! still manages to gut and plunder the senses til you’re naught but a husk fit only for the inhabitation of dark thoughts and weevils.
Gently falling somewhere between the hazy eye-rubbing of Beach House and the long-hair baroque-pop vibes of Love/The Bryds, Jason Quever’s sixth LP Life Among the Savages is an understated exercise of perfectionism and an admirable labour a of love.