Friday, November 20, 2015
Album Review :: Ringo Deathstarr - Pure Mood
November 20 2015 (Club AC30)
Words: Dave Beech
Spending time with 'Pure Mood'. the fifth album from Texan shoegazers Ringo Deathstarr, is much like spending time under the influence of ketamine. Like the dissociative, it lulls listeners in to a false sense of dream-like security before bludgeoning them with amorphous walls of discord; feeling both natural, yet completely synthesized, it's a record of lush and expansive soundscapes juxtaposed against the oppressive throbs and drones made staple by the genre's pioneers. Though while there are obvious harkenings to the likes of Slowdive and My Bloody Valentine, 'Pure Mood' is very much its own beast entirely.
Opening with the aptly titled 'Dream Again', a spectral duality of acoustic guitar and vocals, the record begins in a melodious and ephemeral haze – the layered vocals of bassist Alex Gehring matching perfectly the cadence of the picked chords beneath. Ephemeral it is, however, as the fragile cocoon spun by Gehring is soon shattered by following track 'Heavy Metal Suicide'.
Nevertheless, it is until third track 'Stare At The Sun' that the record really breaks in to its stride. The throbbing bass and Gehring's sing-song vocal see the track begin innocuously enough, but it doesn't take long for an industrial fog to settle over proceedings; the machine-like pull of the bass an anchor point that serves to guide listeners through the melodious cacophony that's since erupted around them.
Of course, there are more typical iterations of shoegaze at play across the record, 'Show Me The Truth Of Your Love', for instance, but for every familiar staple Ringo Deathstarr manage to turn another on its head. The pulsating electro hum of 'Big Bopper' smacks of label contemporaries Pinkshinyultrablast as opposed to any of the genre's heavyweights, whilst both 'Never' and 'Boys In Heat' are wonky appropriations of the genre that once again draw comparisons to the auditory effect of dissociative drugs.
Ironically deemed as 'The Scene That Celebrates Itself', shoegaze is often maligned as boring, and self-absorbed but with 'Pure Mood' Ringo Deathstarr have managed to encapsulate the genre's spirit - and drag it kicking and screaming into the present. And whilst contemporaries such as Whirr are desperately trying to stay relevant and not to fade into their own feedback, Ringo Deathstarr effortlessly write another record - one that is arguably their strongest to date.