Various Artists

Soak Your Shoes in Red Wine & Strike the Angels Dumb

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AllMusic Review by Tim Sendra

Shoegaze never died. It was just in a backwards, reverb-induced coma. Grand Theft Autumn is a label (one of quite a few) that has devoted itself to breaking the coma and bringing shoegaze into the 2000s. Its label and friends' sampler from 2003, Soak Your Shoes in Red Wine and Strike the Angels Dumb gets right to the point with a cover of "Only Shallow" (by My Bloody Valentine, of course) as done by Shiner. It is faithful as can be; the only clue that it was produced by an American (Midwestern) band is the earnest, almost emo, vocals. The rest of the disc reaches some pretty sublime highs, and never is anything less than fully listenable. The highs are what shift units, so they come first: Wayne Everett, formerly of the amazing Lassie Foundation, sweetly croons his way through the feather-light "A Million Leaves"; Eskimohunter glides through the smooth and fuzzy "Surfing at 32 Degrees F"; Hopewell drifts very neo-psychedically on "Benedictine"; Jimi Shields and Suzanne Thorpe's "Sonny Payne" is a beautiful acoustic ballad; Scott Allen's "Computer Adios" is atmospheric; and the Shimmer Kids Underpop Association deliver its usual excellent and strange brand of chamber psych on "Tell Your Story Walking." Otherwise, there are fine tracks by Sciflyer, Tiara, Camden, and another Lassie Foundation alum, Frank Lenz. A couple of tracks could have been lopped off without causing too much distress, but as it stands, the disc is a sonically exciting and adventurous manifesto for a label that is releasing some very good music. That would be Grand Theft Autumn, in case you lost track. You'll want to remember that name and track down any recent releases.

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