Pinkshinyultrablast: Everything Else Matters (Club AC30)

Russian shoegazers issue awe-inspiring debut LP

Released Jan 21st, 2015 via Club AC30 / By Richard Lewis
Pinkshinyultrablast: Everything Else Matters (Club AC30) A city whose musical heritage is best known worldwide for being the birthplace of several iconic Russian composers (Borodin, Rachmaninoff, Stravinsky, Shostakovich) St. Petersburg and shoegazing haven’t been words that have collided with much regularity up to now.

Natives of the Federation’s second city nu-psych quintet Pinkshinyultrablast have emerged seemingly without prior notice from the conurbation with a startling debut album that even at this ridiculously early stage in 2015 sounds like a high entry on the end of year lists.

Deriving their name from an album by overlooked US noise-pop group astrobrite, the ‘Blast take on the influences of the genre’s leading lights (MBV, Slowdive, the gossamer vocals of Cocteau Twins and Lush) and indelibly etch their own imprint onto the form, successfully managing to be ultra-melodious and challenging at the same time.

Counterbalancing the ethereal elements with sandblasting guitar grittiness, the title unwittingly or not seems to reference the band’s approach, the fine details of heavily treated guitar and synth sounding huge without recourse to relentlessly multi-tracking until the arrangements become muddied.

In addition to the melodic wherewithal displayed, in a category that pushes guitar textures to the furthest extremes, the rhythm section can occasionally be neglected, something the present band impressively uproot with front and centre bass lines and myriad tempo shifts.

The swooping siren-like vocals of lead singer Lyubov are in earshot throughout and while the lyrics may be submerged, the tunes are in plain view. Opening with a cross between choral singing and birdsong, (repeated listens reveal the opening words are ‘Morning time…’) ‘Wish We Were’ quickly builds from gently pattering laptop beats into a cyclone of coruscating guitar, off beat hi-hats and swirling synths.

Lead single ‘Holy Forest’ next, alternating between a prettily descending guitar line and breakneck apocalypse revolves around Lyubov’s distant vocals while ‘Glitter’ sees bassist Igor more than earn his stripes alternating a stellar recurring hook with a malevolent fuzzed out riff.

‘Metamorphosis’ lives up to its title, shifting from a cut up vocal sample on to thudding Afrobeat rhythms and all-out guitar blitzkrieg that showcases just how much sonic firepower the band possess.

Proof of the band’s fondness for minimalist composers Philip Glass and Terry Riley, ‘Umi’ sees the second half of the LP commence with one of its strongest cuts, wringing the maximum from an understated yet vast guitar arpeggio and synth pattern underpinned by a motorik groove.

‘Land’s End’ beginning ostensibly straightforward, its delay pedal guitar figure proceeding at a fair clip before a thunderous drum surge sees things move into waltz time and back again via a hailstorm of guitar, while ‘Ravestar Supreme’, brings to mind the brilliant but inactive The Radio Dept as it races through its day-glo synth passages.

Closing track ‘Marigold’ just shy of nine minutes long somehow managing to sound only a third of the length provides a fittingly epic finale, moving from a beautifully woozy mid tempo Cocteau Twins glide before doubling in tempo and concluding with waves of swirling guitar and synth crashing overhead.

State of the art alt. pop, the cutting edge of psych, ethereal wave, ambient noise-rock, the genre demarcations are porous. Put simply, Everything Else Matters sounds like the beginning of a beautiful friendship.