[sic] Magazine

The Virgance – Hiko Shrine

Reviewed by Pranav Agrawal

This is my first album review and I am really revered to review a really brilliant album by The Virgance. The Virgance is a solo project of UK based Nathan Smith and with the album, Hiko Shrine, he unleashes a swirly placid trip from the shoegaze universe. This is the second album by him, much more brighter and upbeat than the debut album, Lost Continent. His heedfulness towards the details is appreciable. Each track is filled with a loopy and swirly bubblegum surprise. The opening track, ‘Propulsion Lab Part 1’ is absolutely frenzied and stunning. A track like this satisfies all the ear-sexual requirements of an shoegaze fan. After the eruption of cacophony and reverb, the second track ‘Mobius Strip’, cools down the temperature but still maintaining the balance of the album’s complexity. The next track, ‘Breitling Orbiter’ suggests an updated take on Eno‘s and MBV‘s pioneering guitar experiments.

Tracks like ‘Airsick’ and ‘Freon Presence’ brings more experimental approach to this album with its reverberating wall of sound and the latter contributing towards nugaze. ‘Interceptors’ reminds us again how genius this album is and how blazingly the album is wrapped around the blankets of reverb, making the listener calm and warm. ‘Propulsion Lab Part 2’ is a more pleasant and rather surprising trip. The arrangements here are so voluptuous yet filled with ethereal melodies. ‘Eos and Astraeus’ also plays psychedelically with the listener who is drowning in the swirling streams of the wall of the sound. Finally, ‘Slingshot’ gives it a perfect and ambient finish to this album.

Overall, Hiko Shrine, is an instant love for a shoegaze fan. The album balances the complexity and pop melodies with a remarkable self-assurance for the creation. An album like this, supports the fire of second-wave shoegaze burning. A must recommended album to all the shoegaze lovers.

Recommended track: Propulsion Lab Part II

Hiko Shrine was released January 26th on Bandcamp on the roster of netlabel El Vals del Conejo.

Album at Bandcamp