Tuesday, January 22, 2008

sometimes they collide

have you ever tried to have a conversation about music with someone who hasn't really listened to anything since 1973? it's fucking hard. so many of the words we use to describe music are only understood by us, people who listen and follow it religiously, and have absolutely no correlation to a) how music actually sounds, and b) any conventional use of those words in english. one of the most irksome genres (for its practitioners as much as for its nomenclature) is shoegaze. while it is easy to understand (music that makes you want to look at your shoes), it's really time for shoegaze to get the proverbial axe. most bands that embrace "shoegaze" as a self-descriptor generally play crappy progressive music - songs that start with a lone, cold-sounding guitar and grow, over seventeen achingly boring minutes, into some cacophonist mogwai ripoff. christ. fortunately, the hectors are hip to the shoegaze game, and brazenly combine the best elements of that failing genre (yup, there are a couple of those) with a mainstream rock sensibility that make their songs both edgy and easy to enjoy. having just released sometimes they collide, their second ep, for tarantism records, the hectors are getting all antsy in their pantsy and ready to prove that, though shoegaze has no future (and thank god for it), that doesn't mean that we can't get something decent out of it before it goes.

one of shoegaze's most potent (and worthwhile) attributes is its distinctive guitar sound, which characteristically starts delicately, pinpointing notes that hang in the air, then gradually builds into a wail, screeching with distortion and epiphany, thundering and glorious. for most bands, this takes an achingly long time. the hectors consistently do it in under five minutes, and with actual melodies and honest-to-goodness dynamics. what a rare find. as their press release says, "the hectors write and perform songs about geeks ('cold star'), thugs ('carol and sanford'), slackers ('proof of sale') and dreamers ('i drove all the way from bridgeport to make it with you')", but rick parker (BRMC, dandy warhols) buries frontwoman corinne dinner's vocals deep in the mix, accentuating the depth of her voice but also losing many of her lyrics. the loss is negligible, since the hectors' fierce guitar layering rightly deserves it be the focus - album highlight "a million fingers" showcases the interplay between lead robert bonilla's and dinner's guitars, dynamic and ominous.

only the hectors' second release, sometimes they collide is impressive, and puts the band in good position to get snapped up by a serious label. with strong hooks and charismatic guitar work, sometimes they collide bring to mind a gentler silversun pickups (a band that mr. mammoth is a big fan of). the hectors have successfully fleshed out the skeleton of shoegaze into a serious pop force, and future work from this band is sure to be as enjoyable and expansive as this ep is.

"cold star" & "a million fingers"

buy sometimes they collide at your local independent record store.

1 comment:

Taylor said...

I have been moving away from this type of music since discovering Mogwai and their ilk long ago, but I never understood why. I you've figured it out for me!