It was a pretty cool niche side genre to British indie pop in the 1980’s and 90s. Dreamy vocals, walls of fuzzy guitars, hypnotic melodies, and often understated pop slightly submerged under psychedelic atmospherics and even garage rock sonics. Some of those bands crossed over with poppier songs, but others forged a strong audience nonetheless. The Jesus & Mary Chain, Cocteau Twins, Ride, My Bloody Valentine, Lush, Slowdive all made defining albums for me in that period. My pop sensibilities soon had me favouring the shiny world of delicious Brit-Pop’s 7″ singles. But I still hold many of those records dear to my heart.
Fast forward twenty years or so and there seems to be a new wave of shoegaze, although people refer to it as ‘dream pop’ these days, which I think I prefer. Two of my favourite songs from last year, Try and Sure were from Brisbane artist Hatchi (aka Harriet ex of the marvellous Go-Violets, and currently also in the pop-tabulous Babaganouj).
And from Melbourne we have five piece swirl-tastic Wild Meadows. They released an ep a couple of years ago, but their first full length (and self titled) album is released on March 2. I’m not sure what ages these guys (and gal) are, but I’ll wager that they had some serious ‘baggy’ older brothers and sisters in the 90’s, with kickass record collections. Over ten tracks I found myself hearing glimpses of Slowdive, Stone Roses, Ride, Lush, even The Rapture and The Strokes. Some of the more up-tempo songs like opener First Exit have a very Strokes vibe, urgent bass driven verses but it’s all Lush in the chorus. Feel The Noise kicks of like The Sundays and has that kind of ethereal echoy vocal swimming slightly back in the mix, which many of the band of this ouvre used in the past to great effect. These Days starts with a guitar riff which could be by early 90’s Cure. So you see where we are going with this. It’s not exactly copyist, but they are certainly wearing their influences on their sleeves. The production is very 90’s, which is no way meant as a criticism. I like it. I actually might even love it.
The guitars jangle, like broken glass surfing a wall of sound. The singers are great, the songs really strong, kickass bass player and drummer and there is a quality that is simultaneously twinkly and dark. If you loved (or indeed love) any of the bands name check in this review, Wild Meadows just might be the band you didn’t know you were looking for.
Review by Ian Bell