This Pinkshinyultrablast article was written by Matthew Amery, a GIGsoup contributor. Edited by Natalie Whitehouse.
Pinkshinyultrablast are a shoegaze outfit from St Petersburg, Russia, and are making some serious waves in the resurgence of the genre over the past two years.
Going in to their newest effort ‘Grandfathered,’ one may be a little skeptical, if only because of a perception that new wave shoegaze bands tend to be a sort of ‘karaoke’ act, doing the classic sound well, but not really making anything new. However, there is no such danger with Pinkshinyultrablast here. The band manages to pay homage to pioneers like My Bloody Valentine and Slowdive without being a tribute act, they bring a distinct twist to an already great sound.
The album kicks off with ‘Initial’, an upbeat song where we first experience Lyubov’s vocals which could be easily likened to a female version of Jonsi from Sigur Ros. These vocals are such an integral part of the way the album feels and really compliment the boppy indie vibe of the tracks. In the second track ‘Glow Vastly’ we are treated to more of a ‘wall of sound’ approach, with barriers of guitar noise blending into bass guitar driven melodies. This is a characteristic of the whole album, with the bass being prominently featured in the mix to change the intensity of songs.
‘I Catch you Napping’ continues the reverb-laden guitar riffs, and builds up to multiple crescendos filled with the signature bass interludes and more post-rock driven blasts of sound. The hook for the song is that the vocals are much more discernible on this than on the two previous tracks, and give it a clear melody and catchiness. Tracks four, ‘Kiddy Pool Dreams’ and five ‘Comet Marbles’ provide the backbone of the album, with the former sounding like a great song to play live. The latter also provides some slower more ambient passages to break up the upbeat nature of the album.
We’re then treated to ‘The Cherry Pit,’ which is the most popular track from the album and it’s easy to see why. There is great detail paid to the production, with the lyrics being more prominent than on previous tracks. It does have more of an indie-pop tinge to it and really gets its pacing right. ‘Molkky’ comes next and really opens the album up, with longer Hammock-like post rock interludes and a more ethereal sound to the instrumentals, definitely a strong track.
Now we have the closer, ‘Grandfeathered,’ which should have been reversed in order with the previous song. It is a solid piece of music, but feels more like a mid-album track, very in keeping with the aesthetic of the rest of the album but does nothing too different to identify it as a closer. The seventh track ‘Molkky’ is a much more open and slow driving song, and would have been a little bit better to play the album out.
The entire LP is strong and keeps you hooked, with a bobbing head and your best double-denim shoegaze face. It’s a really fun listen and definitely worth picking up. It does at points feel a little one-note and songs can easily bleed into, or be confused for one another. However, if you listen to the album in one sitting, that doesn’t particularly matter. The album could also have done with slightly more of the longer, more open soundscapes that it flirts with throughout the running time of the disc. However, these are small criticisms and can be mostly ignored due to the overall strength of the album.