The latest graduates from the shoegaze school of sonic annihilation are Singapore four-piece Stellarium, a band who describe themselves as "Earbleedwaxpopsupersonicwhitenoisesoundfuzzkill". Got that? Good, because across the ten pieces of music that make up this, their self-recorded, titled and released debut long player, it pretty much does as it describes itself on the tin.
Although recorded over a year ago, the band have been forced to bide their time making Stellarium available on a wider scale due to the familiar constraints of the music industry at this moment in time, namely funding and distribution. Even now, despite a steadily growing following within the shoegaze community both at home and abroad, they're essentially an unknown quantity outside of their homeland.
At times their music is deceptive, such as on the blues-tinged 'Any Day Is Fine' which moulds Raveonettes style harmonics with a deep, dark bassline reminiscent of Automatic era Mary Chain; at others incessantly visceral, like the sandgrinding ferocity of 'The Grass Is Greener', which really does sound like a merciless explosion in the bowels of hell. 'Tomorrow's Monday', meanwhile, takes a more laidback approach, almost forsaking the band's obsession with feedback and reverb for the sedative aura of melancholic country instead. While it works as an aside, there's no doubting where Stellarium's real strength lies, and that's in bludgeoning the senses with relentless streams of white noise.
Take 'Chocolate & Strawberry', for example, arguably the record's stand-out moment, where a barrage of pedal-assisted guitars career and collide with an incredible drumming display that rivals an AK47 for sheer machine-like propensity. All the time, the vocals are fairly inaudible buried unsteadily beneath the mix, and while there's a curious inkling to want to know more about what 'Harbinger' or 'Paddle Pop' are about, the absence of any definable lyric only adds to Stellarium's mystique.
While it's highly unlikely you'll see white noise tinged ditties with titles like 'Dead Nebula' and 'Summer Bloodbath' challenging for chart supremacy any day soon, Stellarium's mix and match approach to creating a unique formula oozes potential, to the point where the likes of Oliver Ackermann and Emil Nikolaisen may be cautiously looking over their shoulders in months to come.
7Dom Gourlay's Score