EP review by KevW
The shoegaze revival has kind of gotten out of hand now. Firstly, several years on and it's showing no signs of relenting, in fact, if anything it's gaining momentum. Plus, the genre in its various forms is probably bigger and more popular now than ever before, so maybe this isn't a revival at all, it's a coming of age. Some bands, as is natural with any type of music, see where the boundaries are and try and stretch them a bit further, whereas others are more than content to focus their energies on writing and recording the best songs they can within the general realm of the style. Hailing for Portland's fertile musical streets are Visiting Diplomats, and they fit the latter category. Their EP 'Bret Harte Road' could be straight out of 1991, a year than many see as the pinnacle of shoegaze the first time around, but with a little bit of 4AD's alt-rock from the same era thrown in for good measure.
Yes, this means that you've likely heard this kind of thing before, but with tunes as good as 'Brings Me Down' it matters not. The distortion, the melody, the wall of noise; it's a tried and tested combination and they deliver the goods as well as most who are drinking from those dreamy waters, and they know how to nail a chorus and allow those guitars to chime when needed. The driving 'Pressure' might remind you of early Catherine Wheel, a band who would later embrace the aforementioned alt-rock, even working with 4AD stalwart Tanya Donelly. The sound is allowed to expand for the slowly rumbling and looser feeling 'The Hardest Easy Thing' which isn't too far removed from the material Yuck have been producing since their line-up reshuffle. Despite their name, we hope this isn't just a passing visit.
Visiting Diplomats' website
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