Review Summary: Great combo of 8 Bit music and blissful shoegaze
If anything ever really bums me out about being young, it's the sheer volume of amazing sounds and movements I missed out on. Of this plethora of missed opportunities, the shoegaze of the early 90's stands out as one of the cooler sounds I couldn't be on the vanguard of. With it's soaring, noisy soundscapes of pop, it's a euphoric sound my trance and techno bred tastes can't help but love. While I may not have been there to hear "Loveless" when it burst out into the world, I do have The Depreciation Guild
's similarly epic debut, and, while not as revolutionary as Loveless, it's certainly of the same calibre.
Okay, so maybe comparing In Her Gentle Jaws to Loveless is going a bit over the top, but not very. The Depreciation Guild have managed to create a brilliant, blissful synthesis of 8 bit pop (courtesy of their retro-tastic Famicom) and reverb laden alt rock, and put it out without costing the listener a dime.
In Her Gentle Jaws opens with a bang, literally, starting with an epic, heavy kickdrum from the Famicom, continuing to boom as a swell of 8 bit synths and guitars comes to a crescendo, eventually exploding into the titular track's main riff. With so many albums sounding like a compilation of singles, In her Gentle Jaws stands out, sounding more like a precisely done DJ mix, with a nearly perfect rise and fall.
"In Her Gentle Jaws" perfectly segues into "Sky Ghosts", both literally and emotionally, mirroring Animal Collective
's pairing of "For Reverend Green" and "Fireworks" off of last year's Strawberry Jam. "Sky Ghosts" pretty sound and loved up vibe make it a natural extension of the album's introduction, and it's a desired extension.
"Darklooming" continues the blissful streak, with one of the more beautiful, intricate chord progressions I've heard in recent times, and the Famicom's bleeps serving as a perfect countermelody.
Later on, "Digital Solace" provides some variation, moving the tempo up to drum n bass tempos, wonderfully combining the pulsing boom of the drums with the rest of IHGJ's sound, almost giving the impression of what would happen if techno dnb pioneer Raiden
and The Boo Radleys
Things slow down a bit during the next couple songs, bringing down the energy level in preparation for the album's high point, "Nautilus", a 6 minute long (making it the IHGJ's longest), epic of shoegaze. It's ever growing rise of guitars reminiscent of Ferment era Catherine Wheel
go near to post-rock cresdendoes, and it works perfectly.
And so the album comes to a close with "Heavy Eyes" a fittingly soaring tune that sounds like it wouldn't really be too out of place playing at the end of some uplifting indie movie a la Garden State. At times, it borders on cheesy with the overtly sentimental sound, but never becomes annoying. With their album in its denouement, The Depreciation Guild again show their knack for timing, ending at just the right time and on just the right note.
All in all, TDG's debut album is a worthwhile one. While it can get a little bit samey, they're by no means bad tunes to be repeating. If you're into indie rock and shoegaze, it's a damn good find, and even if you're not impressed, it's free!