Bizarre

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Limiting or misplaced as a term it might have been, but shoegazing did describe a certain combination of digital-delay pedal overload and often sweetly drowsy, melancholic songs readily enough -- and…
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Limiting or misplaced as a term it might have been, but shoegazing did describe a certain combination of digital-delay pedal overload and often sweetly drowsy, melancholic songs readily enough -- and not just in the genre's supposed home base of the U.K. Like their Eastern European counterparts from Czechoslovakia, the Ecstasy of Saint Theresa, Bizarre appeared in a country recently relieved of membership in the Warsaw Pact, Estonia. Eventually settling on a five-piece lineup like obvious partial inspirations Slowdive and consisting of Inga Jagomäe (vocals), Mart Eller (vocals), Anti Aaver (guitar), Tristan Priimägi (guitar), and Lauri Liivak (drums), Bizarre first came together in 1992. The band's formal debut, with an earlier bass player, was a cassette two years later, Beautica, which confirmed the band's relative derivativeness but showed that they were perfectly capable with the form over seven songs.

It won them some due attention but, again like the Ecstasy of Saint Theresa, the quintet wanted to avoid being trapped in a genre style for their follow-up. The result was the striking, delightful Café de Flor in 1996, an eight-song effort that still contained plenty of gaze but added various sample-based rhythms and a '60s-skewed poppiness reflective of groups like Saint Etienne and Pizzicato Five to create an enjoyable new hybrid. The following year's Any Day continued explorations into more modern dance music styles, influenced in part by a support gig playing with Spring Heel Jack that year, but that proved to be Bizarre's unexpected final swansong. Various compilation efforts and collaborations surfaced, as well as a slew of otherwise unreleased songs through the band's web page, still active as of 2004, but otherwise a delightful and underappreciated act had called it a day.