Pinkshinyultrablast: Grandfeathered (Club AC30)

St. Petersburg quintet return with breathtaking second LP

Released Feb 26th, 2016 via Club AC30 / By Richard Lewis
Pinkshinyultrablast: Grandfeathered (Club AC30) Barely 12 months after their first album Everything Else Matters, (review) emerged, Russian psych rock/noise pop five-piece Pinkshinyultrablast return with a second set that outdoes their exemplary debut long player.

With the lion's share of the LP somehow recorded in a whirlwind four day session Grandfeathered sees the St. Petersburg band truly raise their sights towards to the distant horizon.

Pushing the explorations into pure noise and ambient textures further out than before, as the band’s jaw-dropping live shows demonstrate (review), Pinkshinyultrablast possess the ability to shift seamlessly between all-out apocalypse to gently ebbing synth and guitar passages without ever losing focus of the heart of the song.

While the group's expeditions into more esoteric territory are given greater emphasis than before, in similar fashion the pop songs are the most melodic tracks by the five piece so far. If Everything Else Matters blurred genre categories, Grandfeathered skews them to wonderfully deleterious effect even further. Lead singer Lyubov’s celestial vocals remain the focal point, heavily reverbed and frequently looped, the lyrics gradually emerging above the beautiful noise on repeated listens.

‘Initial’, opening the LP with a whistling synth note that develops into a juddering percussive undertow redolent of Aphex Twin demonstrates the changes wrought on the band’s sound since 2009s shoegazing inspired debut EP Blaster.

With ‘Hardcore, metal and Afrobeat’ cited as influences on the disc, all three elements are clearly present, with the heavy duty guitar detonations in ‘Glow Vastly’ instantly recognisable from last year's live shows covering the second category.

Beginning with a Steve Reich-esque guitar figure and drum duel that creates the effect of waves crashing against a ship ‘I Catch You Napping’ is possibly the best thing the band have recorded thus far. A five minute précis of their sound that builds to a euphoric crescendo, the plaintive chorus of ‘Wish you here/Wish you were with me’ the most direct lyric the band have written to date.

Concluding the first side with last year’s rambunctious lead single ‘Kiddy Pool Dreams’, (video) redoubtable guitarist Roman's sinewy riffs are steered by sticksman Sergey’s estimable beats that transforms near the close into a into a gleeful heads-down race towards the finish line. ‘Comet Marbles’ founded on cushions of breathy synths is lustrous state of the art alt. pop with keys/electronics player Rustam firmly in the driving seat that vies with ‘I Catch You Napping’ for the best pop song on the LP.

Elsewhere expansive second single ‘The Cherry Pit’ provides a showcase for bassist Igor’s exemplary melodic foundation work before morphing into a a speed metal sprint in its final minute. 'Mölkky' (presumably named after the Finnish/Russian game of skittles), pairs delicate synth pop and coruscating guitar scrawls with wondrous results while the sweetly upbeat title track closes the album with a songbirds at dawn chorus refrain before departing with a long howl of feedback.

Able to match invention with melody and easily reconcile experimentation with songcraft, the level of innovation here is breathtaking, to the extent that if any guitar band wants to create a better album this year they are strongly advised to consult this one first. And to reference the title of the second track does it Glow Vastly? Yep, like several thousand suns.