EP Review: Motion – S/T

By Liam Menzies (@blnkclyr)

When it comes to the Scottish music scene, there are certain genres that seem to get more love than others. Glitzy indie rock? You’ll be struggling not to find one. Blackgaze, post-metal? Not so much. One that seems to be floating somewhat in the middle is shoegaze, something you might have expected to be more prevalent than any considering one of Scotland’s biggest bands, both commercially and critically, are The Jesus and Mary Chain.

You could probably count the number of up and coming bands in this genre on one hand, Edinburgh based three piece band Motion resting on your index finger. While the act go by the indie title, shoegaze is a vital element on all four songs of their self titled EP – right off the bat, Myths kicks things off with Paul Band’s vocals warped in the traditional style along with some gradually paced guitars. The influences may be apparent but it’s a solid start to an EP that tries and, for the most part, succeeds in being varied and entertaining. 

A point made about the band’s prior single I Can Hear You Coming was that despite it being a solid track, it didn’t do very much to help the band stand out against their contemporaries, regardless of how few there are. Queue Into The Lense, the EP’s second track that washes its vocals of their wishy washy tinge to allow Band to sing about what can be described as a shot at the vain pop culture we experience.

Lines about giving all you got to keep them, presumably higher ups and the media, smiling and glasses full of tears give a real image of the sheer emotional stress that keeping up appearances, regardless if you’re a celebrity or not, can cause. It’s a class example of how Motion are using this rich tapestry of sounds as a platform for something more interesting as opposed to making it the sole attraction, allowing some analytical and descriptive lines akin to the likes of Morrissey.

Closing track Everything helps the EP to leave a sweet taste in your mouth. Succeeding Who, not a weak song by any means but one that keeps a loose grip on you throughout, Everything is arguably the best written track Motion have came out with thus far, moving along at a solid pace but doing enough instrumentally that you never feel your attention floating anywhere that the band don’t want it do.

There’s a near minute long clash of drums and guitars as the conclusion draws near, the band exerting all remaining energy. Motion may have started off with a light fizzle but much like the finale of their debut EP, the band show they’re more than capable of going out with a bang.

7/10


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Track Review: Motion – I Can Hear You Coming Closer

By Liam Menzies (@blnkclyr

Chucking indie rock , dream pop and shoegaze into their filthy little cauldron, the Edinburgh based act Motion have finally came out their chambers to deliver their latest single I Can Hear You Coming, a track that is set to appear on their yet to be titled debut EP.

The band have been relatively quiet info, whether or not this is intentional or not is yet to be seen, with the only thing known about them is that they’re comprised of former Kitch members Paul Band and Robbie Thompson as well as Lee Shand. While they may be scare on details, their music does a fine job of speaking for Motion with I Can Hear… kicking off with an unmistakable Dandy Warhols meets DIIV vibe radiating off this glitzy, submerged intro.

https://soundcloud.com/motionmusichq/i-can-hear-you-coming-closer-1

As the track proceeds, the aforementioned shoegaze influence becomes more and more prevalent with the vocals just about being distinguishable from the tide of synths and effects that are going on alongside. Instrumentally, everything does the job just fine and carries the track over its 3 minutes and 33 seconds (pretty specific, I know) running time nicely though not much progression is made with things starting off just as they started – not so much a complaint, rather an observation that some might point out.

Overall, Motion make a more than decent attempt at putting their foot in the door and joining the shoegaze/dream pop hybrid that is slowly becoming more apparent in the Scottish music scene. Here’s hoping that as the band start to find their groove and settle in, further experimentation can be implemented to truly give their sound some oomph. 

6/10


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ALBUM REVIEW: Broken Headset – Changements

By Liam Menzies (@blnkclyr)

Submergining you in post-rock drenched guitars from the get-go, Max De Hoogd’s solo project Broken Headset makes a few things immediately clear. Firstly, despite being from Belgium, many of the themes that his songs channel don’t get lost in translation with the aforementioned intro track Am I Goin’ Insane touching on vanity, envy and ambition as well as providing light social commentary on police and showbiz. This kind of smart song-writing, at least lyrically, stands out as being unique and varied.

That’s not to say the songs aren’t pleasant to listen to though: the album opener sounds just as broody as Brand New‘s Sowing Season, to which the track bears a lot of similarites to. There’s a lot of influences coursing through the veins of De Hoogd‘s music and, for the most part, it refines his sound rather than acts as a detriment.

Clocking in at just under forty minutes, Hoogd takes on an abundance of styles, embedding them with his own Belgian tang. Take Mahdawg for instance, a bare bone track instrumentally with a lone guitar and drum being the only thing De Hoogd uses, leaving the two part story he weaves to be the main attraction. Singing of nostalgia and denial, the song takes on a very lo-fi aesthetic with De Hoogd‘s vocals satisfyingly curling around his zesty guitar in the latter half.

If that didnt scratch your lo-fi itch then there’s Nostalgia, a purely instrumental track full of dreamy synths and gentle compressed horns that would fit perfectly into any 8-bit game. It all leaves a Crywank or Dandelion Hands taste in your mouth, one that is rather easy to swallow.

With the album revolving largely around change and how people react to it, it’s a shame that one of the LP’s flaws comes from that. Certain tracks, notably What I’m Gonna Do, feel a bit more bland compared to what comes before and after though, granted, it is different enough to help further diversify the palette of sounds Changements champions. In addition to this, it can sometimes feel like De Hoogd isn’t fully getting to be himself due to the influences being so heavy handed though, as we’ve discussed, some of the act’s best music comes from this.

Criticisms aside, De Hoogd pulls off a good job on his latest LP, giving his tales of reminiscence and denial a lot of life thanks to evokative vocal performances. Once again, the variety on display and the unapolegtic impact his influences have, which result in some of Broken Headset‘s best music, leads to Changements being well worth a listen, a dud track here or there aside. To paraphrase De Hoogd on the eponymous closing track, changes are bound to happen but thankfully on this LP, they don’t bring any pain or suffering.

7/10

You can keep up to date with Broken Headset via their Facebook.


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GIG REVIEW: Yuck @ Broadcast

Putting on a performance that went down better than the price of a vodka mix on a Saturday night, shoegaze Londoners Yuck traversed any pitfalls that comes with playing in such an intimate venue.

Glasgow’s Broadcast offers very little moving space as the band members practically have the audience breathing down their necks. Thankfully, any pre gig blues were put to rest swiftly and securely, unfiltered 90’s guitar rock pouring into every inch of the packed locale and evoking a great laidback yet enthusiastic response from the crowd.

The setlist was fairly varied considering the fact that the band have just released Stranger Things, their third LP and their second without former frontman Daniel Blumberg though Yuck seem to be managing just fine without him. Cannonball sets the bar high for the rest of the night with its chunky, overpowering riffs going down a treat which is wonderfully followed up by Hearts in Motion, a distortion full track that tells a classic romantic tale while drenching itself in grunge influences.

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Thankfully Yuck haven’t resented their earlier work, it can be argued that they owe a lot to it for helping them venture into different territory, and some of the high points of the night come from this pre-Glow & Behold era. Get Away is where any subtlety about the band’s influences gets thrown out of the window with searing riffs reaching face melting magnitudes of volume and intensity.

When all is said and done, the criticisms Yuck face for lacking the vigour that made them such a surprise hit in the early 2010’s are forgotten almost instantly. In this day and age of almost instant internet reviews and almost anyone being able to get their music heard, it’s a relief to see that when put to the test and placed on stage with instruments in hand, a great band will shine and a sub par one will falter: it’s no surprise that Yuck are the former.

TRACK REVIEW: SWAY – Blossom

Hailing from Glasgow, self professed shoegazers SWAY are emerging at a time where the Scottish music scene seems to be becoming even more diverse with various acts taking a page out of the reverb heavy books of DIIV and co.

While this may be worrying at first, there are only so many all caps titled acts you can handle before you start to miss lowercase, the band have thankfully hit out with Blossom which puts all qualms to rest.

An amalgamation of this aforementioned influence and indie rock elements, the driving force of Blossom comes in the form of the rhythmic bass which weaves itself along the broody vocals and clangy drums. Much like the title would imply, the track has a slow emerging quality to it with a few seconds of silence acting as the calm before the storm, brilliantly preceding what is a slightly unbalanced yet still enjoyable performance.

The death of Shoegaze in the 90s is one that is told far too often. Whether it got too boring or other genres at the time were far more interesting, SWAY seem to have taken plenty of history lessons on it and by lacing themselves with traits not akin to the genre, the band could conveniently be on the verge of blossoming themselves.

SWAY
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