[sic] Magazine

Thrushes – Night Falls

What’s the sound of heartbreak? Thrushes think it is guitars, guitars and more guitars. Guitars reverberated to house-wobbling levels. Guitars that chime like a nuclear warning siren. Guitars which ring out the grief of a certain Anna Conner.

Shoegaze has made a semi-comeback lately, particularly in the US where the industry and listeners are slightly less trend-obsessed. Grunge and Britpop may have declared shoegazing unfashionable, but they overlooked the plain and simple fact that it could be utterly thrilling. (Which I thought was the whole point of music really.) But if Thrushes are shogaze, theirs is a more precise version. They’re eschewing the Raveonettes/Spector style ‘wall of sound’ and the My Bloody Valentine , ‘stretched tape’ effect in favour of real songs. The only blurry things here are Conner’s tearful eyes as she proceeds from one crisis to another.

And this girl is worth paying attention to. There’s more to her than mere coquettishness à la Yuki Chikudate ( Asobi Seksu ) I suspect she’s modeling herself, or at least been listening to, Kristen Hersh . Conner’s is less of a yelp than Hersh and a touch more controlled. I am most reminded of Natalie Merchant from a very early 10,000 Maniacs (My Mother The War era).

Sometimes I wish Conner would lose control more. The more emotive tracks here are excellent. Remember the video to Yeah Yeah Yeahs ‘, ‘Maps’? I can’t help thinking back to that as I listen to tracks such as ’Used to you’ or the outstanding title track. That’s a recommendation and a half.

A female-fronted shoegaze band may be nothing new, yet Thrushes are offering something fresh. The precise mix and clear singing voice bring these songs sharply into focus. At times it’s more power pop or post-punk than all-out shoegaze. ‘Juggernaut’ displays it best with its She’s Lost Control drum roll and choppy Editors -esque rhythm guitars. If only everything on Night Falls wasn’t so relentless, so driving . Can Thrushes learn the power of quiet? Or at least punctuate their crashing cymbals with the occasional downtempo piece? Other than that, it all looks good from where I’m standing.

Thrushes, Birdnoise….do they have a Twitter? (Sorry, couldn’t resist)