Pinkshinyultrablast – Grandfeathered (4 stars)

Pinkshinyultrablast – Grandfeathered

Fierce combination of post-hardcore and blissful psychedelia from the St Petersburg band

Beholden as they tend to be to all of two albums released less than a year apart – Ride’s Nowhere (1990) and especially Bloody Valentine’s Loveless (1991) – self-designating shoegaze bands tend to be about the most myopic ever to wobble guitar tremolo arms and stomp on effects pedals. Which is what makes Pinkshinyultrablast such a breath – make that a blast – of fresh air.

Hailing from St Petersburg, Russia – an entire country, much less a city, from which most people would struggle to name another single guitar band of any great note – they’ve developed their sound in splendid isolation. Prior to the release of their impressive debut album Everything Else Matters last year on two respected indie labels, Club AC30 (UK/Europe) and Shelflife (US/Canada), they’d never even played a gig outside of Russia. It’s easy to imagine them being enthusiastically received in most any corner of the world now as they follow up in brisk and more expansive style with album two, Grandfeathered.

It’s tempting to apply the word ‘dreamy’ to singer Lyubov Soloveva’s Liz Fraser-esque ethereal birdsong vocals, which are sung in English yet dipped so low in the mix as to rarely be intelligible. But to associate music of such power and fierceness even tangentially with sleep would be wholly misleading. Drift off into a haze to the kaleidoscopic electronica of opener ‘Initial’ and you’ll promptly be violently kicked awake by the cascading fuzz-max riffs and feedback wails of ‘Glow Vastly’.

There are basic resemblances with reverb-heavy second-wave shoegazers such as Lush, fellow Eastern Europeans The Ecstasy of Saint Theresa and obscure Americans Astrobrite (from one of whose songs Pinkshinyultrablast take their name). But the prettily punishing likes of ‘Kiddy Pool Dreams’ and ‘The Cherry Pit’ add to a sense of Grandfeathered moreover representing an uncommon and heady brew of post-hardcore and blissful psychedelia, and with it the sense of these Russians being a band beholden only to themselves.

Out Fri 26 Feb, on Club AC30.

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