[sic] Magazine

Brief Candles – Fractured Days

Ah, 1990 all over again. Shoegazing was at its heights and My Bloody Valentine led the way. While the band were busy creating Loveless , a kind of Good Vibrations for the pre-millennium (and near-bankrupting their label, Creation) their influence spread like wildfire. The scene (that celebrated itself) was already established in the UK, particularly London and the Thames Valley but it soon found its way across the Atlantic. American acts such as The Swirlies took up the baton and to be honest, USA never really let go. Grunge may have buried shoegazing in the UK but in the States it never went away.

Milwaukee’s Brief Candles are the latest band of note. They employ similarly warped, phased guitars to MBV added to the tried and tested ‘boy/girl’ vocals. Indeed, something like ‘Small Streets’ the single which preceded this record, has more in common with Peter Bjorn and John than the likes of Ride or Lush . “Swirl” is apt as the off-kilter melodies at the heart of these songs are more often than not wrapped in a maelstrom of effect-laden guitars. I think of Swervedriver when I’m buried in tracks like ‘10 weeks’ or ‘Bitter End’ (not the Placebo song), even if the vocalist is female.

The songtitle award has to go to ‘Nosferatu Monks’. How splendid is that, even if the music itself is 30 seconds of scuzz. Overall, Fractured Daze (sorry) is pretty damned decent. I like it fine.