Article by KevW
The latest offering from Texan shoegazers Ringo Deathstarr is perhaps more varied than many people will have expected, and that's perhaps due to the fact that the band spent more time on 'Pure Mood' than any of its four predecessors. This variety and complexity make for quite an engaging listen, and it doesn't take them long to let you know this isn't going to be a collection of stylistically similar songs. The delicate 'Dream Again' opens the album and although it's musically little more than strummed guitar, the washes of soft vocals turn it into a quite gorgeous dreampop number. You could say the track's title was a fitting one, and when it fades away and we crash into 'Heavy Metal Suicide', once again the name paints a reasonably accurate picture. This isn't metal, but it does have a hard-rock leaning in the verses and guitar solo, with the chorus pulling it back into melodic shoegaze territory. The ride has begun.
The pieces may not seem to fit on paper - some tracks have male lead vocals, some female, they switch between delicate and brutal quite often - but 'Pure Mood' adds up to a cohesive whole. Third track, 'Stare At The Sun', takes the sweet female vocals and harmonies of 'Dream Again' and crossbreeds it with the serrated guitar found on 'Heavy Metal Suicide', bringing all the pieces together to create the classic sound of this genre. The slower 'Show Me The Truth Of Your Love' also has that timeless sound that goes back to the early '90s, with 'Big Bopper' feeling even more like a period-piece as wavering, distorted guitar and a looping melody combine with sections of scree. The excellent single, Guilt', only seems to have improved over the course of the last month or two and is a woozy wonderland with a little crunch added; it manages to stand-out as something of a highlight on a very good album.
On 'California Car Collection' you're reminded that Ringo Deathstarr are no one-trick ponies. Beginning as though it's a gentle, mid-album pause for breath, the slow and hazy first section soon gives way to a wave of abrasive guitar that adds depth to the song. 'Frisbee' is another highlight that sounds as though its melting as you play it, such is the warped effect afforded to pretty much the entire track, and vocally it's reminiscent of The Jesus & Mary Chain, and this slightly deformed sound continues through the crashing 'Boys In Heat' which contains a great psychedelic mid-section. 'Never' is a hectic rampage through the punkier end of the shoegaze genre and doesn't take any prisoners, you could perhaps compare it to the aural assaults that A Place To Bury Strangers have served up at times. The twisted, head-muddling production on 'Old Again' takes us back into a world of contorted dreampop before they bow out with the fuzz-pop ball of energy that is 'Acid Tongue'. It's safe to say that the extra time spent recording 'Pure Mood' was well spent.
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