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Everything Else Matters Julian Marszalek , January 27th, 2015 12:43

What with the upcoming reuniting of Ride, and Slowdive having already taking flight after a prolonged absence, you've really got to wonder whether Russian shoegazers Pinkshinyultrablast are viewing this as a blessing or a curse. Are they likely to be caught in the slipstream of renewed interest in all things cooing and shimmering, or will they be left behind as the progenitors of the form come to dominate the headlines that are likely to emerge over the summer months? And, more importantly, do they have something new to offer to take things forward or is this simply homage to the joys of a phalanx of effects and powerful amplification?

Based on the evidence contained within Everything Else Matters' eight tracks, the answer lies somewhere in between and therein lies the possibility of falling through the cracks. The touchstones of dreamy, soaring multi-tracked guitars fed through dense layers of feedback and vocals that sigh, ache and beguile in a language that could be English or a vocabulary of its own making do much to doff their caps in the direction of Cocteau Twins. However, whereas Grangemouth's finest and much of what followed had hooks and an overriding sense of melody, Pinkshinyultrablast operate more in a sense of mood and present a blank canvass on to which you're invited to project your own interpretations and visions.

As such, Everything Else Matters is a difficult album to engage with, and one that doesn't reveal much beneath the surface noise of blissed out washes of guitar, basslines and vocals that are more instrumental flourishes than a carrier of message, story or feeling. That's not to say that the album lacks any charms. The sugar coated and gossamer-light chimes of 'Ravestar Supreme' come closest to breaking out from its inspirational shackles to become something of a joyous experience but for the most part such moments are frequently sacrificed in favour of stylistic flourishes that present soundscapes to be an end in and of themselves. Take opener 'Wish We Were', a track that builds with any number of tricks to get the mood going – drones, ethereal vocals, programmed beats, pumping low-end synths – before finally giving way around the halfway mark of its six minute duration to a truly disappointingly skittering bassline and some lightweight chord slashing before covering the whole thing with shards of distortion.

Certainly, Pinkshinyultrablast have their sonic template firmly in place but it's difficult to shake the feeling that without a greater focus on melody and sharper songwriting there remains a very real danger of their efforts vanishing into the haze like so many decaying chords fed through a series of delay pedals. Especially if Lush choose to give it another go.

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