Bowery Electric's debut full-length album is a droning, atmospheric affair. Guitars, drums, and hushed vocals suggest a definite Slowdive influence, but Bowery Electric approaches the shoegazer sound with more moodiness, tension, and space rock ethics. "Next to Nothing" and "Long Way Down" almost sound like Just for a Day-era Slowdive letting off steam; the distorted guitars and gentle drums of both tracks never sound lush, as there's an undercurrent of confusion and discomfort in the way the instruments mix. The music brings to mind imagery of rainy days or starless nights. There's not really a stab at traditional song structure with any of the tracks. "Another Road" sees vocalist Martha Schwendener nearly speaking her vocals, and she sounds quite caught up in the dreamy music that surrounds her. Neither Schwendener nor Lawrence Chandler seem to care if their vocals are audible or understood; their voices simply become additional instruments, as is common with shoegazer music. There are ample pace changes to be found throughout the album's nine tracks. "Over and Over" is a slow-burning, quiet number, which is immediately followed by the tense, dark "Deep Sky Objects." "Deep Sky Objects" sounds more than a bit like a Joy Division song, if not for the dreamy, processed vocals. Bowery Electric works equally well with short, moody song fragments (on "Sounds in Motion" and "Over and Over") as with grand, drawn-out movements (on "Next to Nothing" and "Slow Thrills"). "Drift Away" is an ambient joy. It's quite an achievement that the album, at over 50 minutes, never gets boring or even less than compelling, even though there's not much variation in mood from track to track and within individual songs. Despite the fact that the band is the sum of its influences, the album is quite fresh and interesting throughout. Bowery Electric is an extremely accomplished, beautifully moody debut.
Bowery Electric Review
by Tim DiGravina