The early ’90s was an era in which a new music genre was created every couple of months by bored journalists, lacking a story. Three bands with some sort of shared audible influences, a -clever’ name for the collective sound and, hey presto, you had yourself a genre. Hence, the likes of Romo, Grebo, New Wave of New Wave, Baggy, Yob Rock and countless others. Shoegazing was used to a tag a few bands with floppy fringes and walls of spaced-out, dreamy guitars. The genre’s name referred to the fact that these bands tended to stare at their feet rather than the audience. The implication of this could be taken to mean that either the bands were too lost in their own music and were unpretentious or that they were shy, scared indie boys that were totally up their own arse.
However one felt at the time, it’s fair to say the music has stood up really well. -Pearl’ by Chapterhouse, a band derided at the time, verges on euphoric nearly 20 years later. The songs here used to represent Lush, Slowdive and Ultra Vivid Scene prove that, as ridiculed as shoegazing was then, there were lots of great tunes being written. And, the legacy of these bands still lives on in the music of Boards Of Canada, M83 and Ulrich Schnaus (the sublime -On My Own’ is the best thing here), making this a wider-reaching, superior compilation. A few minor quibbles aside – the choice of Ride song, the omission of My Bloody Valentine and Swervedriver – Rob da Bank has compiled a terrific snapshot of an over-looked genre.
Ultra Vivid Scene – Mercy Seat