Dead Mellotron - Glitter

by Steve Reynolds Rating:4 Release Date:2012-05-07

Ah shoegaze, the early 90s and shy bookish kids covering up their lack of musical acumen by washing their six-strings through the wringer and covering them in a pile of feedback, roaring distortion and the ubiquitous ethereal vocals. It wasn't a negative scene and the small crop of bands from it are fondly remembered, including Ride and the glorious My Bloody Valentine. Kevin Shields was always the totemic figure of this particular style and it's this hero worship that I'm sure is partly down to him being driven into the ground with hardly a MBV note in anger since 1991's Loveless.

However,the legacy of the scene maintains a healthy existence with several bands showing a lineage in their own fair way (Pissed Jeans, A Place to Bury Strangers). Enter Dead Mellotron, aka Josh Frazier who uses the moniker for musical output. Originally a solo project for his first two albums, he has recruited some foot soldiers for this his third long player, Glitter. The band have been lumped in as part of the new wave of beard-stroking, foot-staring guitar noise. I think it's a slice of lazy journalism to cast this upon them, but I hope my stunted shoegaze summary (seemingly irrelevant now) might enlighten the virgins to this scene among you.

I'd cast them as ambient-noise-pop. The songs seem quite light ('Can't See'), cleanly arranged and far removed from the maladjusted stair rods of noise bands of the modern era. Even 'Bye', which threatens to rage, does so in a disappointingly mild-mannered way, taking elements of post-rock with its layered build-up but lacking charm and bite. 'Making Up' is just far too pretty and needs a heavy adrenaline shot to ratchet up the tension. At times they deliver, as on on 'Oohahh' with its maelstrom of guitar reminiscent of MBV's 'Sometimes'.

Sadly, though, Glitter seems far too staged and earnest to be any good. Dead Mellotron will disappear into the ether as little more than an also-ran guitar band unless they start to raise their game and find another route to market.

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