It’s not often we hear much from Russian bands, or indeed much from Eastern Europe at all, but Pinkshinyultrablast have garnered a bit of attention recently with their exciting shoegaze/post-rock sound. ‘Everything Else Matters’ is the band’s first full-length album and hopes to live up to the promise exhibited on some early EPs and singles.
The shoegaze influences from the likes of My Bloody Valentine and Slowdive are undeniable on tracks such as Holy Forest, with hazily distorted guitars and high, indistinct vocals. There’s a hint of an electronic touch in Pinkshinyultrablast’s sound, and a fondness for short melodic riffs that creates something a bit different. A remarkably clean and distinct bass sound shapes the songs, allowing the guitar to swathe itself in sheets of distortion.
Umi is the album highlight, and is a gloriously light piece of dream pop that glides lazily into the listener’s ears. A startling simple yet catchy vocal hook flutters throughout the song. The chorus bursts into a blaze of distorted noise, with yet another basic guitar riff making an appearance as the song flows with a graceful elegance.
The rest of the album lacks the focus of Umi though. The vocals are obliterated by reverb and delay, and although it creates an unusual effect, and works great for short hooks, the vocals are far to faint and blurry to make out any words – for the most part the vocals blend into the guitars. The tracks are quite long as well, ranging from four to nine minutes, and while the group work some quality stuff into the long tunes – particularly a cool ambient section on closer Marigold – the constant blast of hazy distortion and reverb makes it feel frustratingly intangible.
Still, there are plenty of reasons to immerse yourself in the shimmering beauty that Pinkshinyultrablast have conjured up here. Despite a slight lack of variety and an over-reliance on the reverb effects, ‘Everything Else Matters’ is a sweet, melodious, relaxing listen.