A Sunny Day In Glasgow – Scribble Mural Comic Journal

May 19, 2007

In a genre driven by individual songs rather than albums or artists, it is very difficult to distinguish oneself ten years after the genre hit it’s peak. Shoegaze just has a hard time producing truly wonderful albums. Asobi Seksu’s release last year, Citrus, was the first in years to justify that the genre isn’t complete bullshit. And I don’t think it would be completely unreasonable to say that it is at this point, because so few bands in the business have kept up the pace and consistently released good material. The obvious come to mind, My Bloody Valentine and Slowdive. But the lions share of shoegaze bands are the type that released one really good album and a few good singles and couldn’t make a sizable career out of it. Ride, Chapterhouse, Catherine Wheel, Lush…All bands that befell this fate of scattered brilliance, and really none of them made any truly important albums. For that reason, at any new shoegaze release, fans of the genre jump to call them unique or “the best since Loveless” or just downright brilliant. Someone called this album all three, so I foolishly got it.

It’s not that this album is horrible or anything, because it definitely has it’s moments, but the problem is that it should have had many more moments. In fact, most of the album feels like it has really good ideas going on that sadly just get botched and not given the correct treatment. It starts off on a shockingly good foot though. The first track, Wake Up Pretty, is a lovely little hypnotic intro into the rest of the album, with off beat glowing synthesizer loops and a very soft beat. This, and the following song No. 6 Von Karman Street sort of represent what this album should have been. Both songs are very hypnotic, almost delusionally sweet swirls of shoegaze. The twins voices echo and harmonize softly in the background throughout, and the beat is driving enough to make it exciting.

The problem with the album I have is that there are lots of really good melodies that are simply not treated with enough care. There are some simply bad moments though, namely Lists Plans and C’mon, both of which are horribly annoying. But at times this album can reach considerable heights and do some very enjoyable things. To say that the album is unique would be wrong though, because this kind of angelic trance has been done before and has been done well. But then again, there have been plenty of great dreampop and shoegaze records that ripped on others of the genre. Scribble Mural Comic Journal at times makes music that is so flowing and natural that it is relaxing to the effect of a druggy haze or half-asleep dreaming. That may sound a bit pretentious, but nothing is perfect. The style of Scribble Mural gets old fast and many times the songs run themselves out before they actually end. And the fact that most songs melodies have no real structure hurts the style as much as it helps, making the record sound like a pleasant atmosphere while simultaneously being a cluttered mess. But with all this said, the effect of the album is exponentially augmented when cranked to high volumes, like most shoegaze records. The more immersed in the sound one is, the better.

To be honest it’s really not that great unless you are a huge shoegaze fanatic, in which case there is surely something fresh and lovely here that you will thoroughly enjoy. But if you aren’t, and I’d only really consider myself a casual shoegaze fan who dabbles here and there, this is a confusing, mediocre set. There are some really lovely ones that might be highlights in the shoegazing community this year, namely 5:15 Train, Watery, and No. 6 Von Karman Street. Proceed with caution, but it should be pretty obvious whether or not you want this anyway.

One comment

  1. very interesting, but I don’t agree with you

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