Release Date: Jan 27, 2015
Record label: Shelflife
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Rock, Shoegaze
Russia, land of the tsars… and shoegaze? Apparently. Hailing from St. Petersburg and naming themselves after the classic noisegaze album by Astrobrite (and appropriately dropping their debut album on the 10-year anniversary of said record), Pinkshinyultrablast ride the crest of yet another solid wave of shoegaze albums emerging from this decade, with contributions here by Wildhoney, A Sunny Day in Glasgow, Candy Claws, Jefre Cantu-Ledesma, Belong, and Whirr.
Hailing from St Petersburg and named after an Astrobrite LP, Russian five-piece Pinkshinyultrablast are seemingly masters when it comes to obscure reference points relating to their craft. Heavily influenced by the Thames Valley sound of the early Nineties (I'm rather bored of the term 'shoegaze' by now), they first came to this writer's attention via 2009's excellent Happy Songs For Happy Zombies EP. Comparisons to Lush and the Cocteau Twins reigned supreme, largely due to Lyubov Soloveva's breathy, ethereal vocal.
Working the revivalist angle can be a dicey proposition at best. It's easy to fall into the realm of being a mere copycat with nothing new or interesting to add to the pre-existing template, and many artists do exactly that, with results that pale in comparison to the originals. Some try to update or modernize the sound and end up with the worst of both worlds.
Though it may be the name of an album from shoegaze supergroup Astrobrite, seeing a band calling themselves Pinkshinyultrablast may lead you to, once again, proclaim that all the decent names are taken. However, the more you listen to Everything Else Matters, the St. Petersburg quintet’s debut LP, the more that moniker begins to make sense. Whilst ascribing colours to sound is probably best left to the synaesthetes, you could certainly describe their music as ‘shiny’ – guitars shimmer in waves, and there’s a gloss to the production.
Head here to submit your own review of this album. It became such a cliché to describe any band who flirted with dream-pop and shoegaze as ethereal that that adjective effectively lost its meaning. Pinkshinyultrablast are a band that do actually sound ethereal. This is mainly due to female singer Lyubov's overpowering, heavily-reverbed vocals which claim centre stage here, yet their music isn't all sweetness and light, and the huge washes of guitars and synths, not to mention the propulsive bass and drums, balance the heavenly aspirations with some raucous and earthy noise.
Band names rarely give much away in relation to their music, or indeed where their inspiration came from. Russian five-piece Pinkshinyultrablast on the other hand cover both bases in one elongated title, particularly on the influence side, being surprisingly nothing to do with a fully functional sex toy with added ejaculation feature but instead being named after an album by Astrobrite, a shoegazing noise pop ‘supergroup’ that first surfaced in 1994. As for their sound, well that’s covered off nicely too.
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.