It wafts in on a big blast of guitar and rhythm sure to give any fan of Creation's output circa 1991 an instant jolt of happiness -- it's as if Slowdive never went away. Study of the Lifeless' debut album doesn't break anything close to new ground, but does a great job at that tangled, glazed wash of psych/post-punk forever tagged as shoegazer music, for better or worse. As a self-contained unit, the duo actually sounds more together than full bands who created the same level and complexity of sound; if the credits didn't say any different, it'd be easy to say Study of the Lifeless had at least five members if not more. April's drumming is in many ways as notable and key a part of the group as the guitars, able to give a good, solid punch to the music and as deceptively simple and strong as Mo Tucker's work in the Velvet Underground ever was. Adam, meanwhile, definitely knows his Kevin Shields, but isn't as aggressively avant-garde as the latter often is, favoring instead Neil Halstead and at times Nick McCabe when it comes to well-played and performed aural guitar sculptures guaranteed to create an instantly lovely, unashamedly melancholic mood. The duo's singing is practically inaudible, very intentionally buried deep in the mix and leaving little but a tantalizing whisper -- the music is what's central here, and there's nothing wrong with that at all. "Never Know" is a clear standout of Study of the Lifeless at its best, based around a central, endlessly repeated guitar melody that matches with April's drumming to create beautiful, head-nodding bliss. There's less overall variety here than on, say, Loveless itself, but for a first effort, Study of the Lifeless is well on the right track to something potentially very special.
AllMusic Review by Ned Raggett