Shoegaze has undergone something of a revival in today’s music scene, with bands like Tame Impala, Swim Deep and The Horrors giving it a modern twist. Downers, featuring ex-Me Vs Hero guitarist Bobby Pook, seem set to join the ranks. But unlike the other mentioned bands who have had success in the indie scene, Downers give shoegaze a rock edge. Combining grunge guitars with general dreaminess, the four-piece released their excellent self-titled debut EP in May. Now new EP Noose sees them continue what they started.
Consisting of three tracks, Noose is a fresh and interesting record. Pook’s vocals are mellow and captivating, and although there’s not much of a range displayed, it meshes perfectly with the heavy rhythm guitars and swirling lead guitars. Opener and standout track Graze builds up beautifully throughout, starting off slow and relaxing, but eventually gets quicker. This changes the mellow 90s-esque vibe completely into something more exciting and gives the entire track a modern twist. This fact also makes Graze feel a lot less than its five minute length.
Although the opening track is the standout track, the other two tracks featured on Noose do not falter. Closing track Grown Out is gritty and grungy, making the most of the heavy rhythm guitars that are included on Noose so prominently. It is also where we see versatility in Pook’s voice, as his vocals become raspy and scream-like as the heavy guitars reach a crescendo. Erased is almost the exact opposite to Grown Out. Although the staple rhythm guitars are still included, it is the softest and dreamiest track on the record, allowing their shoegaze influence to shine through.
Downers show a lot of promise and potential, but there is still work to be done. Every song has interesting lyrical themes, such as Erased being about a dream about being invisible Pook has regularly. But because there’s so much going on, focus usually ends up on the more interesting music and not the vocals, which is a shame due to the subject matter of the lyrics. In addition, some of the instrumental sections of the tracks end up going off on a tangent which affects their flow. All in all, though, Downers are a truly original band on the brink of something great, and if Noose does anything, it’s prove that.
For fans of: Citizen, Balance & Composure, Nirvana
Words by Georgia Jackson
‘Noose’ by Downers is out now on Local Colour Records.