archiv: skywave

archive review originally posted on the losing today site c. 2003 / 04 ….

(Best Kept Secret)

Pretty much a fitting title considering that is in essence what this ensemble seem to deal in. To give you a taste of what this band sounds like it’s pretty easy to conduct your own field experiment. Wait until a mother of a thunderstorm is brewing and then head to the nearest high point, preferably on the flight path to a major airport and stand arms out as the full unprotected force of mother nature ravages your very being while the pummelling sound of DC engines near rips your head off as it’s cruise over to descent. Cool eh?
Okay then maybe Skywave aren’t that loud, but you get my drift, as they have an unhealthy predilection for dowsing their songs with distorted pastiches of sonic haze.
Having already equipped themselves neatly via their contribution to the recent ‘Blisscent 1’ compilation of which ‘Fire’ was the collections highlight and having appeared on similar compilations too many and too numerous to list here, this full length sees them popping up on the ever reliable Best Kept Secret tape label from Italy, with a burning hot bag of 12 tracks all recorded last year.
Opening in fine style with the abrasive ‘All Alone’ it’s easy to spot that this lot have had ‘Psychocandy’ on repeat mode, a furious feedback drenched opus that’s underpinned by the determined Peter Hook bass line and has you imagining Joy Division in the studio duelling with early JMC. Strange as it may seem but Skywave have been mistakenly lumped in with the current crop of youngsters treading the shoe-gazing scene which isn’t true at all, if anything Skywave’s sound is devolved from the 60’s psyche era, darkly menacing with an unhinged tripping groove.
The all too brief incandescence of ‘Dreamscape’ has the celestial arcs of Slowdive and the wayward groove of Wagon Christ pressed through the mincer while the band plug in and fire up to provide the dusted infusion of a tarnished glow over the surface. ‘You gave me a letter’ suffers with production so much so that you are left with a bare bones primitive sound, that aside there’s a pretty neat Western vibe ruminating in there while the almost distant distorted vocals endear the whole thing with an eerie edge ALA Autumn Leaves. ‘Baby it’s just you’ sounds suspiciously like Del Shannon’s ‘Runaway’ only slowed down, a fuzz laden love song that sounds so garage you swear you can smell the oil and tyres. ‘Don’t say goodbye’ is my preferred cut, a vicious punked up bliss for you to flip your wigs to.
‘Heartbreaker’ switches the electrics for a spot of seductive rustic acoustics and dreamy harmonies while ‘And you wonder why’ bears all the hallmark iciness of Joy Division’s ‘Unknown Pleasures’. As a curtain raiser try the paranoia ridden industrial carnage of ‘Coming after me’ which if anything will have the furniture playing musical chairs. A worthy addition.

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