Article by Del Chaney
The heightened chatter within the underground blogging community surrounding Russian-based dream-gazers Pinkshinyultrablast is that they are on the verge of releasing the best album of 2016, period! It has also been suggested that we should all give up writing about anything else this year by some! Big statement to make in my opinion. So, because music reviewing and blogging isn't an exact science, I've decide to forgo all of that hype and see for myself just how good it actually is. We're all aware by now of the band's ability to create stunning dreamy shoegaze and that they also produce and intertwine blistering sonic atmospherics into everything that they touch, so I was expecting something decent from them as a jump off point. The band's debut album 'Everything Else Matters' was met with critical acclaim upon its release at the beginning of 2015. They quickly became the underground shoegazing fraternity's favourite band as wave after wave of soaring singles arrived to the masses. Pinkshinyultrablast take their name from an Astrobrite album and the band actually cite Astrobrite as being "the band" who were instrumental in how "they researched spaces between ambient, heavy guitar and pop music". Pinkshinyultrablast' are Igor -bass, Lyubov - vocals, Sergey - drums, Rustam - synths/electronics, and Roman - guitars, and they release their second album 'Grandfeathered' on the 26th February 2016 via Club AC30 Records.
A noisy, synthetic, blurry wall of noise introduces the opening composition entitled 'Initial' until we're treated to a soaring vocal line courtesy of Lyubov and we're knee-deep into a brilliant modern-day, dreamy, sample-driven alt-electronic track. 'Grow Vastly' begins with droning guitar feedback until it explodes onto the musical canvass with pounding drums, that layered attacking guitar progression, enormous synth swells and the haunting, impressive vocal. I'm already hearing subtle differences between this album and the band's 2015 debut 'Everything Else Matters', but there is no denying that Pinkshinyultrablast create massive swathes of sound within every track that they produce. Up next is 'I Catch You Napping' and we're back into old school Pinkshinyultrablast mode. A enormous wall of expressive soaring drums and shimmering guitars open this track up before it envelopes that beautiful vocal line and carries it along within its swirling animalistic whirlwind. Howling guitars announce the arrival of the band's recent single 'Kiddy Pool Dreams' and again I'm amazed at just how big the production is on this record. This is immense, with its charging percussion tracks, blistering guitars and synths and that angelic vocal sitting smack bang in the middle of a raging storm! This track loops and arcs all across the musical spectrum without abating and I can easily see why they would put this out as a single. Stunning!
'Comet Marbles' is a full-on wall of layered reverberating shoegaze infused with a beautiful dreampop swirl in lyrical form. The longest track on the entire release and by far my favourite with its beautiful walls of hazy guitars, soaring vocal, synth stabs and pounding drums. I'm truly in heaven and hopeful that this might be put out as a single, as it soars above anything else musically that I've heard this year so far. Up next, 'The Cherry Pit' is a recent release and its accompanying video is something to behold! Again we're back into free flowing shoegaze mode as 'The Cherry Pit' uses its menacing wall of reverb-laden guitars as the foundation that keeps everything soaring in the air! The vocals, drums, synth swells, that addictive bass line and accompanying electronics all sit on top of those impressive guitars. Another stunning composition that's bound keep the hoards of gazing fans worldwide happy for now. The album's penultimate track 'Mölkky' swirls within sequenced synth patterns, epic drums, screaming, layered, reverberating guitars and another immense vocal performance, but for me its starting to sound like each track is an extension of the previous. Its getting very familiar and starting to sound same same. The album's closing track 'Grandfeathered' shimmers within a dynamic sonic swirl. Shuffling drums introduce a musical onslaught in the form of another huge multi-instrumental production that cushions and protects that beautiful fragile vocal track.
Overall this is a great sophomore release from Pinkshinyultrablast. Yes, it has the impressive singles, some already released and maybe one or two more besides that are sure to come, but as it grinds through the gears it all gets too familiar for me! I loved their debut album. 'Everything Else Matters' was fresh and brought something previously unheard to the musical table. This new album promised to bring the band in a new direction, but only time will tell if 'Grandfeathered' ends up being the best album of 2016 come year's end.
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