Gliss | Langsom Dans

Modern Outsider (2013)
By DANIEL BROCKMAN  |  February 1, 2013
3.0 3.0 Stars

OTR_Gliss_2_featured
If rock and roll is three chords and the truth, then the mutant genre offspring shoegaze can be summed up as one chord, three fuzzboxes, and a sullen, muttered bleat. In some ways a more archetypal expression of teenage angst than punk or metal, the swirl of shoegaze embodies the powerlessness and displaced outsider sense that our youth are enforced to contend with — which explains why, a good quarter of a century since dinosaurs like Chapterhouse and Ride mushed girl-group lilt into full-tilt volume destruction, we're still seeing crucial shoegaze platters like this lap up on our shores. Gliss have been kicking around the Los Angeles shoegaze netherworld for nearly a decade, but the recent promotion of Danish ex-pat Victoria Cecilia to lead vocalist on Langsom Dans has finally made their shtick click into place, as the out-of-place spaciness of the reverb'ed guitars and tambourine beats find melodic counterparts in the lonely-and-lost-in-space vocals. Whether in the spiraling stomp of opener "Blood on My Hands," the buzzing and pattering shriek of "Into the Water," or the eight-minutes-and-change of chains-dragging-along-the-ocean-floor that is closer "Kite in the Sky," Cecilia's pained voice exudes a pout that pours from the speakers. What differentiates Langsom Dans from a generation or two of shoegaze wannabes is the way that it is of its genre without actually containing much in the way of grit or distortion. The guitars, so tweaked as to be unrecognizable, line up with voices and synths to become one instrument. But rather than rely on the typical shoegaze trope of kicking up the volume so loud that notes bleed into each other, tracks like album highlight "Weight of Love" are buoyed by a languorous and resigned mood that smothers rather than obliterates, an elevation of shrugged impertinence that threatens to blot out the sun.

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