Gengahr – Where Wildness Grows Review

When you first hear the title of Gengahr’s second LP – Where Wildness Grows – you might think that it could signify a more experimental, more ‘out-there’ album than their previous. No. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing; the album is a subtle, shimmery nod to a chilled summer playlist, with the wildest thing to come from it being a solid Gengahr identity emerging from behind the shrubbery.

Where Wildness Grows cements a definite sound for the London four-piece. Many of the songs (Pull Over (Now), Before Sunrise, Is This How You Love) find their greatest assets in their twinkling, echoic riffs; they give the otherwise-basic-indie tracks extra buoyancy, something to remember them by. Each song is wonderfully layered and textured – take the eponymous Where Wildness Grows, for example, which sizzles with minor distortion and shudders with bass, juxtaposing the delicate vocals of Felix Bushe and the quiet finger picking on the guitar. However, Mallory is the track to sum up the album best: rich with different flavours and a range of sounds that are so fluent, it feels like relaxing on a pool lounger.

While many of the tracks sparkle in the sunlight, others a darker and gloomier. An track list highlight is single Carrion, in which an eerier intro paves way for a rock-centred labyrinth of fierce guitars and a pulsating bass. Whole Again begins in the same vein, with thrashing guitars leading the way, but drifts softly back into the colourful pool of indie rock we’ve already come to know. The instrumental section at the end, however, is something quite wonderful, and as a conclusion to the track list, works excellently. Even the songs that divert from Where Wildness Grows’ framework don’t seem out of place; the album flows pretty nicely.

Well, maybe too nicely. A lot of the tracks sound the same. While the slightly-edgy agenda of a pretty riff, some kind of percussion and chords lying on top works very well indeed, it’s also kind of boring. There’s no doubt that this is an ideal album to relax to for any indie fan, but maybe not one to enjoy with any particular fervour.

Gengahr – Where Wildness Grows: 7/10

Ellie Chivers

Single Review – Beach House – Dive

Baltimore’s leading Dream Pop artists have released their first new material since 2015’s Thank Your Lucky Stars; arguably the most well received album Beach House have released coming just two months after their previous album Depression Cherry. Their seventh studio album is helpfully called 7 and is due for a May 11th release. As their sound has progressed they’ve often delved deeper into the washed out, hazy sounds with haunting vocals and lingering instrumentation. Their new single ‘Dive’ doesn’t stray far from this approach with quivering organs combining with spaced out, solitary strikes of the guitar. Victoria Legrand’s vocals add to the darker atmosphere which is eventually with Lacey percussion, pitch shifted riffs and shimmering electronica albeit under the prism of the whirring, hazy production. It is another example of their skill with musical arrangements and minimalist work, but here we are only given fleeting glimpses of something new.

Owen Riddle

Single Review – Gengahr – Is This How You Love

Gengahr have treated us to some beautifully different tracks in the build up for the release of Where Wildness Grows, with their latest offering being Is This How You Love. The newbie follows the more chilled, summery vibes of Before Sunrise and Mallory, as it twinkles with an echoic riff and laidback bass. Felix Bushe’s falsetto tones come out to play a little more, dusting the track with even more sunny glow, before it gets progressively heavier towards the end, though the single never strays from being a golden example of relaxed. With all the incredible singles the band have released in anticipation for their sophomore LP, you can just tell it’ll be a winner.

Ellie Chivers

Single Review – ZHU feat. Tame Impala – My Life

The psychedelic tones of Tame Impala dip into the EDM scene in a link-up with ZHU, producing the bouncing yet atmospheric My Life. With repetitive lyrics and repetitive riffs, the track is nothing astounding, but brings the best of each artists’ genres to form something somewhat soothing and cleverly curated, with an electronic orchestra to liven up the echoic synths. The track jumps with bass and builds with Parker’s pleading to let him live his life to the tune of aggressive synth, before crashing with the strength of a small wave to close off a mediocre single; one that doesn’t really do anything much for either artists’ repertoire.

Ellie Chivers

Single Review – Manic Street Preachers – Dylan and Caitlin

As the Manics approach the April 13th release of their thirteenth studio album Resistance Is Futile they have released their third single from the album with ‘Dylan and Caitlin’. It tells of the turbulent relationship between Welsh poet Dylan Thomas and his wife Caitlin with the song split between them. James Dean Bradfield sings Dylan’s hypothetical words whilst Welsh singer songwriter Anchoress sings Caitlin’s. This song is perhaps a more pedestrian version of ‘Your Love Alone’ with its 60’s Motown arrangement around Bradfield’s typical tearing guitar. Whilst it’s still a capable song, you do wonder where the Manics are trying to go with this album from its disparate singles. You wonder if Futurology might have been their last hurrah in terms of acclaim and that they’re now settling back into their comfort zone. We’ll see come April.

Owen Riddle

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