Release Date: Nov 20, 2015
Record label: Reverberation
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Shoegaze
Ringo Deathstarr's 2015 effort Pure Mood is another excellent example of how to make a modern-age shoegaze album. Pile layers of fuzzy, grungy guitar noise on top of sugary tunes sung in breathless tones, add the occasional twist, and stir. It's a formula bands have been using since Kevin Shields bought his first Jazzmaster, but as on previous albums, RDS show the kind of melodic skill and sonic ability here that allow them to leap ahead of the pack of shoegaze imitators and wannabes.
What do you do when you are a shoegaze band who have been dreaming and scheming in your native Austin since 2007, only for a new wave of acts with dodgy bowl cuts and a My Bloody Valentine best-of to start a so-called revival? Shoegaze seems to be what every indie band strives towards these days, but the Ringos have their take nailed on their fifth album, Pure Mood. It’s luxuriously heavy, sweetly ghostly and more thoughtful than others who switch on the reverb pedal and hope for the best. They don’t wallow beneath their walls of sound: the exciting songs, such as Heavy Metal Suicide and Frisbee and Guilt, contrast their feathery whimsy with gunmetal guitars and blastbeat drums.
The return of Slowdive and Ride may have seen an upsurge of interest in the 'shoegaze' scene recently. However, let's not forget those bands who've been carrying its torch long before the first wave's leading lights got back together. Take Ringo Deathstarr, a band who've been making waves of their own for a decade now. With almost a dozen releases to their name, they've channeled the spirit of past masters such as My Bloody Valentine and Smashing Pumpkins into a distinctly recognisable sound of their own.
That patchouli-scented title is a red herring; Texan trio Ringo Deathstarr’s fifth album is not a record to chill to. Theirs is a grungy take on the fuzzy introspection of shoegaze: blissed-out vocals are set to layers of sludgy riffs, warm harmonies are marshalled by some serious sonic muscle. Not everything here gets the balancing act quite right.
With six albums released over as many years, Ringo Deathstarr are clearly intent on showing no signs of slowing down. Pure Mood feels like an assured release on the ever-reliable Club AC30 label – in many ways, much more so than 2013’s God’s Dream. Whether or not you’ll enjoy it, however, somewhat depends on which side of the shoegaze/grunge fence you stand, for there’s an assortment of both genres present here.