Ringo Deathstarr: Pure Mood (Club AC30)

Texan psych rock trio come of age on scintillating third LP

Released Nov 20th, 2015 via Club AC30 / By Richard Lewis
Ringo Deathstarr: Pure Mood (Club AC30) Slightly paradoxically for a band based in modern psychedelic mecca Austin, Texas, Ringo Deathstarr have always appeared to look across the Atlantic for inspiration. With The Jesus and Mary Chain and (especially) My Bloody Valentine regularly cited in the group's reviews, while the band have been a notable presence since the appearance of their eponymous debut EP in 2007, the trio’s releases had perhaps been slightly too in thrall of their influences to truly make a mark.

Their third LP proper, Pure Mood sees the trio augment their sun-baked shoegaze formula with crunching US alt. rock riffs and full blown choruses to decisively carve out their own niche.

Led by lead singer/guitarist Elliott Frazier, vocals are split equally with bassist Alex Gehring’s diaphanous voice, with the gentle scene setting strum Dream Again giving way to the skyscraping dream-grunge of Heavy Metal Suicide. Stare At the Sun propelled by a looped bass motif is imbued with some of the same programmed beats plus torch song vocals Curve broke new ground with, a formula appropriated somewhat liberally by fellow indie rock crew Garbage.

The Big Bopper, named after the musician who died in the aviation tragedy that also claimed Ritchie Valens and Buddy Holly, seems less a record of what happened on The Day the Music Died than a grab bag of pop cultural references including a scroll through Netflix, ‘I Know What You Did Last Summer/Heaven’s Gate was really a bummer (referring to the 1980 box office bomb).

Guided by sticksman Daniel Coborn’s thunderous drumming waltz-time rush Guilt is superior Smashing Pumpkins inspired alt. rock while the soft centred ‘Show Me the Truth Of Your Love’ title and all could have slotted neatly onto Corgan & Co's finest hour Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness.

A state famed for heavy-duty guitar slingers Never builds up the guitar layers to deep-pile proportions while Boys In Heat somehow brings together wading through mud guitar riffs and melodic vocals to create its own sludge-pop formula. Elsewhere while ‘Frisbee’ skirts very close to that shoegaze band named after the crappy 1980s slasher movie, the quality of the track renders any reservations pretty much void.

Showcasing the band’s expansive side California Car Collection is a Texan heat haze rendered in sound, while Old Again is perfectly realised dream pop, a slow moving vista of boy/girl harmonies. Rather brilliantly, the poppiest moment on the LP is saved until the very end as three minute sunburst Acid Tongue dashes towards the exit like a harder-hitting version of The Lemonheads.

Possibly the album that truly pushes the group overground, unlike the cinematic mega vessel the band are part named after that is easily destroyed by targeting its weak point, this Deathstarr has had all its design flaws erased.