Album two from the shoegaze trio boasts some outstanding moments.
Noel Gardner 2013
The trio from the south-west of England have racked up nearly four years between their self-titled debut and this follow-up – a rather mundane gestation compared to the 21-and-a-bit My Bloody Valentine left between Loveless and m b v.
Thought Forms have also titled one of these eight songs Only Hollow, a self-admitted nod to Only Shallow from Loveless. The new My Bloody Valentine album has a track called only tomorrow. Shoegaze indie icons can be so cruel…
Only Hollow, as it happens, takes as many cues from garage rock and Gish-era Smashing Pumpkins as Kevin Shields’ mob. This, too, scarcely gives a clue as to what this eclectic and often disarmingly heavy opus offers.
Landing could be one of the meatier servings by Japan’s Boris, explosively opening the album by marrying depth-charge sludge guitar to near-soothing psychedelic effects.
Thought Forms’ use of low end is frequently (no pun intended) very satisfying: if not riffs, then the hypnotic droning backdrop to Burn Me Clean, at 13 minutes long easily Ghost Mountain’s epic.
Afon, a shivering, strung-out and almost shapeless abstraction of psychedelic folk, gets by on one rumbling bass note every 10 seconds or so.
At their least interesting – Sans Soleil or Song for Junko – Thought Forms sail a bit closer to the winds of generic post-rock (quiet reverb/loud feedback/rinse and repeat) than their grand ambitions might suggest.
Additionally, even the parts that are good are not always original; O, which concludes the album with Charlie Romijn’s icily blank vocals and heavy-gravity psych guitar, is hard not to hear as an homage to Philadelphian space-rockers Bardo Pond.
At least, until about five-and-a-half minutes, where all participants are seemingly given a jolt of electricity and O morphs into a yowling grunge would-be anthem.
Two albums in and Thought Forms are not yet the finished article, but boast outstanding individual moments, and will probably gift us a third album before 2034.