Ringo Deathstarr

Mauve

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Ringo Deathstarr's debut album Colour Trip was modern-day shoegaze classic of sorts; faithfully reanimating the sound of the late-'80s and early-'90s pioneers, while giving the noises-meets-melody template a blast of excitement and energy. The songs were also super catchy and as compelling as anything that came out of the first wave. The only problem was that Ringo Deathstarr was about 20 years late to the party. No matter, they appear to be very willing to keep bashing away no matter what the calendar says. The group's follow-up, Mauve, sticks pretty closely to the sound and approach of Colour Trip and succeeds for the same reason; total mastery of all aspects of noise pop and shoegaze. The trio's playing is inspired, nailing dynamic shifts and sounding fiery even when they slow the tempo. Elliott Frazier's production is spot-on, bathing the listener in noise but never overwhelming them. The band drowns their candy-sweet melodies in ugly layers of tremolo-ed guitar noise (Frazier's playing is especially loud and fuzzy this time out), they temper the headlong rush of tracks like "Slack" and "Waste" with hazy, sleepy ballads that sound like they were written in bed ("Brightest Star," "Girls We Know"), and sound impressively dark and forbidding when they discard the "pop" part of the noise-pop equation and get nasty ("Nap Time"). When they go outside the template and try something a little different, as on the quietly loping, completely dreamy "Drag," the band shows they are more than just imitators and have their own ideas. Even if they were just to imitate My Bloody Valentine and Chapterhouse for a few more albums, it would still be a worthwhile venture because they do it so well. Especially when you consider that, just as with Colour Trip, Mauve would have jumped to the head of the pack if it had come out in 1991 and made Ringo Deathstarr a household name among shoegaze mavens. In 2012, the album is still an impressive achievement and cements the trio's place as the absolute best band of shoegaze revivalists operating.

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