Album Review: Italy's Moondrive Create Arresting Shoegaze
Far too many shoegaze bands lean on creating an atmosphere, neglecting the other necessary ingredients for an interesting sound. Enter Italy’s Moondrive, and their self-titled album. It’s got atmosphere, sure. But it’s also got musicianship, melodies and more.
The album is also a lot more dynamic than many shoegaze records, filled with textures and influences not often heard in similar releases. The sound experiments and percussion on ‘Particular’ wouldn’t sound out of place on an Animal Collective record, for instance. This track is followed by a foray into post-rock territory with ‘Old Dark Wild Beast’. Despite exploring new territories, Moondrive remains cohesive, and its solid sequencing keeps things engaging.
The best moments on this album come when a single element cuts through the fog to steal the show, such as the clattering percussion on ‘Finders Keepers’ or the eerie vocal effects, synth lines and distortion that sounds borrowed from Before the Dawn Heals Us-era M83 on ‘Bear’. These are what keeps the album inviting, and deliver most of the emotional punches. There were times when the vocals could have been more arresting. However, this comes with the territory. Besides, the band know it’s their instrumentation that is the real scene-stealer, and they were wise in keeping it in the forefront.
Really, this is what shoegaze is all about. It’s beautiful, cinematic music for describing the indescribable. Elusive like a rose-coloured lens, but tangible enough to be gripping and emotional. Sometimes, you don’t need to be ground-breaking to make something spectacular. If the ingredients are right, the cake will still taste pretty sweet.