Sunday, January 12, 2014

Ringo Deathstarr- God's Dream

Ringo Deathstarr are different for a "shoegazer" band, in that I think they have connected back to the same well of inspiration that launched bands like My Bloody Valentine, Swervedriver and Ride, as opposed to simply being inspired by those bands. They are harder, more American, more Rocknroll than any of those bands, and  more like a psychedelic punk band, with a heavy Eno-esque love of ambient textures than a straight "shoegazer" band, even if that means the guitars end up sounding like My Bloody Valentine on "Isn't Anything". The close male female harmonies are, of course, going to recall MBV for the majority of listeners, and I can hear that, but I hear 1970 - Youngbloods, Original Caste, and above all the New Seekers- just as much. What I'm saying is that they belong more with Redd Kross, Sonic Youth, and The Butthole Surfers than they do with Asobi Seksu. Geddit?
So, it makes sense that Adam Franklin and Jeff Shroeder would show up- Ringo Deathstarr are trying to set themselves up as peers and equivalents to the late 1980's "Shoegazer/alt nation" scene as opposed to a carbon copy of that scene.
Anyway, all this is semantics- let's talk about the tunes!
For once the song titles are actually pretty descriptive, once you crack the code- first song, for example is "Bong Load"- on one level a single entendre for smoking drugs. But take it apart- A bong captures and distributes smoke, while a load is a weight- so this is something heavy made airy, made like smoke. This method works throughout. Nowhere moreso than with the lead track "Flower Power" which seesaws between blasts of uptempo noise, and pretty little bits of glissando. Geddit? Flower power? This mix of light and dark- Distortion and melody, Male and female voices, dichotomies in the titles, etc is what Ringo Deathstarr are all about musically. If you get the 9 track Japanese version ( which I did, which is why it took about 10 days to get to me) they get the balance perfectly. Really good, really innovative while at the same time really cheesy and really retrograde. Ain't that what we want from Rock music?

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