Pipe Dreams

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Given that shoegaze as a putative genre has its own particular crutches, calling a song "Formulas and Frequencies" is almost a bit of a dare. Certainly Whirr doesn't provide much in the way of specific surprises on their full-length debut release, but Pipe Dreams is further proof that shoegaze's combination of noise and bliss still provides dividends. Though a connection to Deafheaven in the shape of that band's guitarist Nick Bassett provides a specific metal link here, it's leaning much more toward a woozy rather than a crushing feeling throughout, with songs like "Junebouvier" have more of the conceptually pop feeling of early-'90s gaze. If it's not as violent as Lovesliescrushing, the drumming on songs like "Home Is Where My Head Is" and "Hide" help to both propel and stomp in a way that early Ride fans would also definitely appreciate. The buried blend of vocals from Alexandra Morte and Loren Rivera on most of the songs really tips an overt My Bloody Valentine tinge by default, but there's also a feeling of a new fusion at play than simply remaking Loveless -- the arrangements, while definitely reminiscent at many points, are less that band's careening chaos that, with a little bit of brightness and near hooks, the Boo Radleys displayed before they went overtly pop. Slow stateliness provides some musical counterbalance on "Flashback," while the same vocal feeling predominates, with a stripping back of the guitar glaze on some of the verses bringing in space to the chaos. All this said, Pipe Dreams is an enjoyable debut if not a groundbreaker, but there's a definite sense Whirr 's aesthetic is coming together into something more distinct with time.

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