Shoegaze drone-noise from Texas, done well but done several times before.
Mike Diver 2011-02-01
Texan trio Ringo Deathstarr offer evidence aplenty on this debut long-player that, ultimately, it doesn’t matter if your band lacks any real ingenuity or originality, because if you play loud enough people will, eventually, begin to notice you – to the extent where some of them might even put your records out. When this lot supported A Place to Bury Strangers and The Dandy Warhols in the States, the headliners on each occasion must have wondered if their future selves had time-travelled back in order to play a similar-but-not-quite-as-good set, to ensure the bill-toppers’ place was deserved on substance as well as sales.
It’s not that Elliott Frazier, Alex Gehring and Daniel Coborn – guitars/vocals, bass/vocals and drums, respectively – are without ability. Recorded in their hometown of Austin, Colour Trip is a finely realised record, full of soar-away riffs and pummelling percussion. It squeals in all the right places, squirming under the hefty weight of some serious amplification. Vocals drift and drone, hazy in the background of so much fuzz and fog. It ticks any number of boxes you’d care to propose for this sort of shoegaze-goes-interstellar raucousness, plus dishes out the introspection on comparatively sedate numbers like Kaleidoscope and Day Dreamy. But haven’t we all heard this before, a thousand times? Kevin Shields really needs to instruct a lawyer to check for intellectual property infringements, so frequent are bands like Ringo Deathstarr tearing through the My Bloody Valentine songbook for material to brand as their own. Sorry, I mean for influences.
The twin vocalists approach – one male, one female – does mean that Colour Trip isn’t the entirely linear experience it might have otherwise been. (As such, it’s never really boring, however predictable it becomes.) And at times it really does creep up around the listener, immersing them in ripples and waves of undulating volume. A trip it’s not, in terms of transporting one elsewhere – but there are fleeting moments of escape, passages to roll the eyeballs back for. But why anyone would want to take this home when they’re likely to have the originals on their shelves already is a mystery, unless the unsettling sensation of déjà vu is some sort of sick turn-on.