If dark, psychedelic shoegazing is a genre on the rise again, then Documenta are welcome standard bearers. The Belfast band’s uniquely murky style of electronically enhanced rock has been generating excitement for a few years now, and with the release of their second full length album, Drone Pop #1, they have rubber stamped their arrival.
Employing a versatile combination of downbeat guitar grooves, distorted melodies, loops, reverb, and some eerie layered vocals, Documenta’s construction of a sophisticated wall of sound may not be particularly revolutionary, but it seizes the moment with rigorous efficiency. One of the key components of the band’s intense psychedelic sound is the balance struck between light and dark, with soaring astral melodies like ‘Spanish Artist’ and ‘Chiaroscuro’ contrasting sharply with the more somber sounds of the deliciously downbeat ‘Selene’.
Despite its musical tenacity and sublime psychedelic overtures however Drone Pop #1 can’t help but lose its edge along the way. As compelling as tracks like brilliantly moody opener ‘Idle Hands’ and the David Holmes produced ‘Love As A Ghost’ are, they seem to get caught up in swirl of onerous instrumentals that sap the record’s momentum.
Consisting of a mere 8 tracks spanning just over 36 minutes it also feels slightly unfulfilled, with an abrupt end to proceedings meaning the listener is inevitably left wanting more. Whether this is down to Documenta quitting while they’re ahead as opposed to running out of steam is uncertain. Either way it’s nothing they can’t work on prior to their next release.