Album of the Week: Ringo Deathstarr – Mauve
Last year’s debut album Color Trip was an absolute gem and came within a whisker of taking the, ahem, coveted Tidal Wave of Indifference Album of the Year award.
So good news then that the Austin three-piece have turned round a follow-up so quickly? Definitely, and with a definite sound progression too.
Color Trip played the shoegaze/fuzz pop game magnificently and, in among the waves of reverb, had the odd pop anthem like So High. Mauve – named after that most innocuous of dusky pink shades – is considerably more awkward and will work the listener hard for its hooks.
They’re there though. But if you didn’t ‘get’ pre-release freebie and album opener Rip straight away, you’ll probably need a few complete spins of the album for it to truly fall into place. But like the album as a whole piece, those ominous, distorted chords and Alex Gehring’s breathy vocals will nail you before too long and you’ll be miffed that it’s so short.
Burn is pure My Bloody Valentine and there’s no way THAT could be a bad thing. Drain, too, will catch the ear of shoegazing aficionados but the, ummm, ‘Starr are no mere pastiche. Elliott Frazier takes the mic for Slack which powers forward on a playful little guitar riff that, when pulled out of the cloud of noise, would probably slot comfortably into a Bloc Party track.
The swirling scree of Brightest Star brings the pace down considerably before your pop ears will prick up with Fifteen, a little reminiscent of the Chapterhouse or Swervedriver branch of guitar indie with its layered vocals and buried, downtuned guitars. It’s very Evening Session, circa ’93 but again, this is no complaint.
Many albums could be petering out by this point but Mauve still has a few beauties up its sleeve – the industrial clank of Nap Time, with a rather tasty snare sound low in the mix, the feedback-strewn Waste and Do You Wanna, mercifully not a Vaccines cover, a rabble rousing bruiser that’s as good as anything here. It’s a stunning 1-2-3 and ensures any mid-album dip is quickly forgotten.
Mauve is too awkward – and willfully so – to lift Ringo Deathstarr beyond being a simple cult concern, but those already in the know will love this, and hopefully it’ll let a few more in on the secret.