Russian band Gnoomes return with their second album on Rocket Recordings, playing their on brand of what they call ‘Stargaze’. I wrote about their first album on these pages , and it reached the semi finals of my Best of 2015, only being knock out by eventual winners Dead Sea Apes . The obvious thing would be to compare this album to the high standards of their debut. After a few listens I think this would be a little unfair so, all I’m going to say is that this album seems far more expansive.
The warped opener ‘Super Libido Awake’ is a synth heavy builder that kind of sets the tone for the album in general. It sounds industrial but not in a harsh way, this is more of a light and pulsating soundscape.The following track ‘Maria’ shows the bands almost pop psych sensibilities as does ‘Cascias’. Both of these tracks kind of reminded me of Julian Cope’s debut solo album. It is at this point the band enter a more experimental phase drawing on Tangerine Dream, Cluster and Neu! Everything seem to meld and flow with a more liquid kind of feel. The overall sound is crisp, clean and breezy. The best example of this is ‘One Step’ where vocals harmonise and the guitars cut through like a surgeons scalpel. It seems the lack of drugs (they were busted, imprisoned and have to be regularly tested), has made the band more focused, moot point being album closer B-Day, here all of the bands ideas come together in six breathtaking minutes of pop, psychedelia and experimentation.
Bands often seem to paint themselves into a corner and once they have done that will find breaking out of their self made confines will lead to often unnecessary criticism, Gnoomes have avoided that problem by the kicking the cans of paint around the room and allowing themselves the freedom to explore the entire room.
Copies of available here and in the usual places.