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Shmat's Reviews
For more reviews, please visit Palebear which is where all future Shmat reviews will appear (as of March 2006).

Brief Candles
S/T (CD)

Great and gasping, Brief Candles' brand of shoegazer revivalism washes over you like fickle ocean waves. Jen Boeniger's vocals, sometimes hushed and other times melodic, always seem to fit in perfectly with the music. They are as capable of immense storms of guitar as they are quieter passages akin to the gentle lapping of the tide on your feet. Rhythmically, the band seems a bit more forceful or driven than some of the usual suspects like Red House Painters or the Autumns. Sometimes they remind me of The Boxing Lesson in the way that their dynamics can vary. The warm beauty of "If You Hear This", with it's slightly angular guitar chiming and simmering ride cymbal, made it one of my favorite tracks on the album. The song flip-flops between a slow and faster tempo until really taking off near the end with stunningly fat and distortion-laden chords. I think the appearance of Kevin Dixon's vocals on "All My Gates" adds a lot to the overall picture. While Jen's talented singing style is a force to reckon with, it was nice to have some variety in the songs' vocals. On that note, the only possible thing I can find to harp about is that some of the songs seemed to blend together for me, even on multiple listens. Which is why having Kevin sing on at least one song felt like a good changeup. But otherwise, I really enjoyed the intense and shimmering quality of the music. This is fine, fine listening for the gloom of June.

- review by SHORTY (5.25.04)        

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