Essex's Beatglider are one of an emerging bunch of bands seemingly on a mission to revive shoegazing and its related genres. Their half of this split EP is ever so pretty, but it's the sonic equivalent of someone murmuring "I'm fine..." as they patiently bleed to death; affecting, in a martyrly sort of way, but not a little frustrating. Minor chords swoon consumptively, lit by muted touches of melody that could be piercing if they really tried, while an obedient voice, its sigh flattened beneath it, slopes apologetically behind them. It's shoegazing at its most passive; Jeniferever bullied into a whisper, Slowdive robbed of all hope. Of the shoegaze bands, as with any era, let's be honest: it was the shitkickers and weirdos who really thrilled and captivated us: for a prime and obvious example, see My Bloody Valentine's out-of-focus prettiness, offset by Kevin Shields' plugged-in approach to mass violence. Aesthetically speaking, Beatglider's offerings are undeniably beautiful but contrast-free, and it's hard not to wish they'd reach out and clutch at something.
Shinri deal in something more subtle. Delicate acoustic guitars creep over each other, punctuated by occasional snare rattles, while windy vocals sway back and forth. Beguiling as it is, the lyrics are somewhat disarming - "I will sever myself for you" coos Jay Thornton throughout 'Sever'. There's a touch of Elliott Smith's hushed, open-wound approach to songwriting, but it's soothed by a dreamy quality that spans Shinri's two songs here. Like Beatglider, their songs are self-consciously pretty, though less immediate, but where the former's are poured self-abasingly forth, Shinri's music suggests something held back, kept selfishly to themselves, to be used when they see fit. Neither band entirely satisfies, but where Beatglider adopt the doormat stance, Shinri leave you wondering where they'll go next.
6Gen Williams's Score