Pinkshinyultrablast at All Music

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. Best perhaps to just ingest your influences, buy the right gear, and play the hell out of your chosen style. That’s what the Russian shoegaze revivalistsPinkshinyultrablast do on their debut album, Everything Else Matters. They add a couple electronic bits here and there, but mostly they corral the effects pedals into an overloaded cloud of noise shot through with jagged bolts of melodic color and topped with magically ethereal vocals. It’s the albumSlowdive was too laid-back to make, Chapterhouse was too polite to make, and the Cocteau Twinswere too heavenly to make. It blends the best aspects of those bands (and a few others like MBV andRide, and especially the criminally underrated Nightblooms, at times) together into a wonderfully retro album that succeeds because it doesn’t approach shoegaze like some school project that has to be just so. They play and sing with a surplus of barely restrained energy that bursts into displays of thrilling noise, filling the speakers with sound and hearts with real, and not merely nostalgic, emotions.Everything Else Matters comes to life thanks to their sure-handed use of quiet-loud dynamics and their innate sense of when to take a song into the clouds in epic fashion and when to rein it in and make it inward-looking and sad. That almost any one of the songs could be lifted off the album, dropped into a 1991 mix, and sound perfectly at home speaks to both the power of the album, and the band’s take on what it means to be a shoegaze-inspired band two-decades-plus after the sound came to be. There are a lot of bands working this angle in the early 2010s; Pinkshinyultrablast is one of the best, and their debut album shows exactly why.