Wasting no time in following up their well-received debut Everything Else Matters, (released 13 months ago to the day), St Petersburg’s Pinkshinyultrablast have returned with Grandfeathered.
Although very recognisably the same band that many knew and loved from that first record, Grandfeathered is a move into an altogether more dense territory and is not as immediate as its predecessor. Signs of this shift were apparent in the choice of first single from the album, ‘Kiddy Pool Dreams’ which was nowhere near as commercial as former 45s ‘Umi’ and ‘Holy Forest’, those being more at the Lush end of the shoegaze spectrum, as opposed to the Spacemen 3 end.
However, Grandfeathered is very much an album worth sticking with and has some wonderful moments, such as the shimmering ‘Initial’, which fittingly opens the record before squalls of feedback and really quite rockist guitars introduce ‘Glow Vastly’, with its unusual time signatures and stop-start sound. The heavenly calling card of Pinkshinyultrablast remains singer Lyubov Soloveva, whose vocals are perhaps a little lower in the mix this time around, but still float serenely somewhere above the clouds, untroubled by the sounds of distortion and at times, all-out noise, emanating from below.
‘I Catch You Napping’ is an uptempo track and arguably the catchiest song on display, its sweetly chorused guitars blending nicely with some more discordant sounds further in.
The two singles, (the aforementioned ‘Kiddy Pool Dreams’ together with the new one ‘The Cherry Pit’) sit either side the spirited ‘Comet Marbles’. You will probably have as much luck working out the lyrics as you would deciphering early Cocteau Twins words, but it doesn’t matter in the slightest; Soloveva’s vocal is the perfect foil for the often obtuse sounds conjured up brilliantly by the rest of the band.
The single of ‘Kiddy Pool Dreams’ from last Autumn featured an inspired re-imagining of the song (re-branded as ‘Kitty’s Cool Beams’), which took the band’s sound and remoulded it into a synth-driven M83-ish dream of a track. It would be really interesting to hear the band edge of into that direction next time around, but for now, Grandfeathered is a welcome addition to this pretty special outfit’s small but perfectly formed canon.