Nottingham-based shoegaze revivalists Spotlight Kid move into more daring territory with their third album, Ten Thousand Hours, a foggy-eyed look into melancholic walls of guitar fuzz and more interesting production ideas than many of their contemporaries. Shoegaze-as-primary-influence made a huge comeback in the 2010s, with many indie bands aspiring to the template of the genre's masters, My Bloody Valentine, Slowdive, and Ride. While the "big three" of shoegaze get name-checked frequently and their influence can definitely be heard in Spotlight Kid's sound, the band delves deeper into the shoegaze canon and also challenges its own sonic palette. Clear standout "Sugar Pills" definitely includes the big drum sound that made so many of Ride's early songs so bright, but it also builds on glowing flutelike samples, hazy synth tones, and a brilliantly catchy melody buried beneath the waves of sound. The moody "Budge Up" borrows melody and lyrics from an early Dinosaur Jr. tune, but only vaguely, melding the familiar melody with a brooding push similar to that of Lush's best tracks and glittery found-sound samples. By the song's end, vocalist Katty Heath is referencing a breathy Pixies chorus, but quickly submerging it below her band's wall of sound. This type of studio trickery reaches its best heights on "Hold On," a pastiche of acoustic guitar strums and fragmented vocal samples, hedging toward the same nebulous, dreamlike territory as the Cocteau Twins. The sounds on Ten Thousand Hours are more adventurous and lasting than the shoegaze revisitations of many of Spotlight Kid's contemporaries. The album firmly roots their sound in a more original melding of exploratory dream pop and solid rock backbones, and the results are both extremely listenable and interesting.
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AllMusic Review by Fred Thomas