When it comes to the resurgence of all things shoegaze, only one question remains: how literal do you want it? If your answer is "very," you can take your pick of Asobi Seksu, the Radio Dept., or Mahogany. If your answer is "so literal that their referents are crushed under the weight of their references," then meet Exploding Head, one of the best guitar albums of the year.
If you can imagine a giant dam that separated the past decade of tidy rock from the noisy morass of the decade before it, you can now imagine Brooklyn's A Place to Bury Strangers bursting through that dam like the Kool-Aid Man. Pointing out the presence of My Bloody Valentine's influence on a band like this is like citing the influence of Pasteur on milk drinkers. What glows about Exploding Head are the details — the many strands of shoegaze they hunt down and beat up.
"I Lived My Life to Stand in the Shadow of Your Heart" sounds like a Swirlies song set aflame; "Keep Slipping Away" could be a refugee from the Cure's Head on the Door but for its resin-hit lapses into effects-rack tunnelvision; "Smile When You Smile" balances the Jesus and Mary Chain's reserve with Th' Faith Healers' volatility; "Lost Feeling" claws at its own minimalism. Exploding Head is less an interpretation of a forgotten sound than a restoration of an abandoned mission. (Mute)
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