Sometimes it is hard to listen to a shoegaze-influenced band with an open mind. Far too many groups cite My Bloody Valentine and Jesus & Mary Chain as influences, ripping on those classic sounds without even trying to put their own spin on it. This is not the case with The December Sound, a Boston/NYC quartet that I am totally digging right now. The guys recently released their debut album, dubbed The Silver Album, which they have put out themselves. You've got to respect the DIY work ethic of bands, especially when they're mighty fucking awesome.
For fans of the shoegaze genre, you'll be mighty pleased with the sounds of this album. The fuzzed out guitars soar throughout, along with echoed vocals pushed far back into the mix, such as on the opener "Never." At times this does make it a bit tough to decipher the lyrics, but the beauty of the sonics of these tracks make up for that... and then some. What I really dig about The December Sound is their use of rock in their sound, rather than simply relying on effects pedals and drum machines. "No Heaven Like Hell" walks that fine line between fuzzed out sonic bliss and rock aesthetics.
Where The Silver Album really caught my attention was on the stunning "Drone Refusenik," a track with a repeated melody perfect for zoning out. It slowly builds, adding in layers of noise over the droning guitar line and steady beat, bringing to mind a more rocking version of one of my all-time favorite bands, 7% Solution. This vibe returns once again later on the album with "Il Forte."
If you are obsessed with the pitch-bending distortion of My Bloody Valentine, "Truth Hurts" will send chills down your spine. It has all the necessary elements of a perfect shoegaze track, complete with buzzed-out guitars that blur together in absolute sonic bliss, forming the backbone to support ethereal, reverb-soaked vocals and plenty of distortion. For those longing of the early days of Lush, Swervedriver, Slowdive and Jesus & Mary Chain, you can add The December Sound to your list of bands to check out ASAP in 2008.
MP3 Download - "Truth Hurts"