Sciflyer
Melt
Self Released
2001
D-

someone somewhere once remarked that My Bloody Valentine’s Loveless album was the approximation of a “sonic cathedral”. This shimmering beauty was brought to the forefront of the mix because of the numerous hours spent behind the controls by Kevin Shields and others, making the album approach near sonic perfection. It was the high priced recording equipment and tapes, however that allowed the album to appear to be a flawless record of a genre being perfected.


Sciflyer hopes to have the time and the money to make a record that approximates Loveless in its sonic intricacy and majesty one day. Until that day, however, they toil in Californian obscurity, sending promos to radio stations, record labels, and online music review sites. But it’s paid off. A number of radio stations have loved their work, thus far, and play it often enough to have it chart well. The group’s blend of shoegaze, surf rock, and general all around rock and roll; has won a number of people over.


While Sciflyer is not necessarily a bad band- they play their instruments very well and offer up a good approximation of what it must be like to have been buried within the heart of the shoegaze genre and its many bands in early 90s Britain- they are also certainly an acquired taste. The strange dichotomy of 8 track hiss amid a genre built on the perfection of sound makes for an interesting pairing. Sciflyer seems to have embraced the fact that the initial appeal of their first EP was based largely on the fact that it was recorded, quite obviously, on a four track. The effect of hearing a heavily delayed guitar through the crackling tape player is a strange one and easily puts a smile on your face, due to the strangeness of the sensation.


It is, however, merely another effect added to the general mix that doesn’t tell anyone about the songwriting that is present. On the first track of this EP, Sciflyer bursts through the gates with a jaunty beat and a nicely plucked main melody. A few minor waves of feedback cut in nicely, until the introduction ends abruptly and the song lurches into the main thrust of the verse. The vocals are buried within the sound, coming out of the mix as mere vocalizations of a disembodied soul that seems to be in time with the music. The second song, however, is the highlight. It’s a seven minute epic that rolls merrily along, feauturing a backwards guitar solo, among other things. It follows the same sort of format as each song, though, using the wah wah pedal and numerous effects to create a shoegazer-esque sound. The final song of the EP is a cover of Husker Du’s “Powerline”. Let’s just say that it doesn’t ecipse the original version and leave it at that.


Overall, this EP would serve as a nice introduction to Sciflyer’s recorded work, thus far. It maintains the sort of recording technique, albeit a bit more limited than the previous release, while still attempting to channel the spirits of Ride and Slowdive at every opportunity. While nothing on here strikes a chord for an extended period of time, it seems to be a solid release worth checking out, if you would like to see perhaps what the original shoegaze groups would sound like using less expensive recording equipment. But, guys...Husker Du? Did you think you could improve on that?


Reviewed by: Todd Burns
Reviewed on: 2003-09-01
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