‘Nothing Hurt And Everything Was Beautiful’ the debut album from Belfast shoegaze outfit Virgins is as blissful and ethereal as its title suggests. The phrase is drawn from the closing sentence of Kurt Vonnegut’s classic novel Slaughterhouse Five.

And just like the novel’s protagonist Billy Pilgrim, Virgins find themselves unstuck in time with cascading guitars consistently creating a beautiful storm that leaves the listener untethered from terra firma.

The influence of shoegaze is woven into the arsenals of many modern rock bands in a superficial way but for Virgins, it is clearly genuinely intrinsic to their existence with echoes of Ride, Slowdive and Curve and other gothic charms present throughout the album’s eight tracks.

Despite the ephemeral nature of ‘Nothing Hurt And Everything Was Beautiful’ there’s a distinct 90s vibe to the album, which sounds like it could as easily have been cooked up by Billy Corgan in the basement of The Bronze in Sunnydale as it was in Belfast. Indeed, the grunge god’s influence is undeniable from the dainty motifs of ‘Adore’ to the whistly guitars of ‘Disappearer’.

‘Softer’ bursts out of the gate with a swaggering gothic shimmy, with the guitar and bass interchanging an absurdly hypnotic melody before an explosion of sound is eventually corralled by the triumphantly angelic vocals of Rebecca Dow.

Similarly immersive. ‘Slowly, long’ and ‘Close’ find the group enveloping themselves further in cascading guitars. Surprisingly, ’Palefire’ finds the group at their most potent, with Dow’s unintelligible lyrics somehow more wrought with emotion and even more palpable.

They say first impressions count. Well, ‘Nothing Hurt And Everything Was Beautiful’ is one hell of an introduction.