Breakthroughs is the debut EP
from Project SKyward, a new band out of New York City. Most
of the bands i hear from NYC are garage rock or Sonic Youth
derived noise. Not that i am dissing those genres, instead i
mean to point out that the smooth tones and subtle beats of
Breakthroughs is as unusual given it's geographic
source as it is refreshing.
The most obvious reference point i hear in listening to this
EP is Slowdive. There are male and female vocals, funky beats,
and wave after wave of guitar drone. It's very nice, if you
are into that sort of stuff. There are only four tracks, so
let me examine each of them.
The EP starts off with Worm Hole. This title, combined
with the general "deep space" imagery of the packaging show
the band's tendencies: wandering, relaxing, vaguely psychedelic
music. This song features a male voice singing through distortion
(as if he is singing from inside his space suit, and we are
hearing the radio broadcast), strange beeping sounds (again
-- coming from his space suit), a wavering guitar drone, and
a fuzzy beat. It's a good little tune.
Brave New World features a hardier beat, one that is
almost glitchy. The voice is the same here, but the song slowly
builds to a tense climax. The guitars are very well done --
fine shoegazing there lad!
But then, after two shoegazery songs, Project Skyward mix it
up a bit. A Storm features ambient drones and guitar
over a beat that is almost ready for the dance floor. It's funky
and catchy. I am reminded here of Slowdive's In Mind
EP where their shoegazing goodness was dancified by those boys
in Reload. Excellent stuff, and Project SKyward pull it off
admirably. This is a good song, and i like how they combine
the dance beat and the distorted guitars.
But it is Shine that really works for me. To end their
debut EP, Project Skyward start off with mellow ambience, then
add in a funky little breakbeat. This song is masterful: it
combines so many different genres that i enjoy into one lovely
blend that i am impressed. This song is a drum n bass ambient
shoegazing powerhouse. Very cool. And not exactly like anything
else that i have heard before. Oh sure, there are hints of this
in a few places (the afore-mentioned Slowdive EP, some of the
work of SeeFeel, the mid-era work of Bowery Electric), but no
one has really pulled it off quite so well.
So i am impressed. Quite. I look forward to seeing what these
people will do next.
If you are into shoegazer, indie dance, trip-hop, electronica,
or ambient music, then this is a release to check out, and a
band to look out for.