When you used to drum for the best shoegaze band around—that’d be Slowdive, by the way—you don’t really have anything to prove. Simon Scott proves plenty on his debut, Navigare, anyway. The man has a way with creating atmosphere that emotes. Embers of coiling sound drift through “Introduction to Cambridge” and “Derelict Days” and build up into impressive waves of gauzy melody. You’d call these moments ambient if they weren’t so weighed down with the heft of groaning guitars and thick white noise.
Other moments, like the industrial scuffle of “Flood Inn” and the broken-down, fuzzy groove of “The ACC” reveal the former drummer’s knack for simple-but-embedded percussion. These songs can drift away like smoke, but they can also form into living things, dig firmly into the turf, and charge ahead. Navigare is a dark shape-shifter, but it doesn’t forget to let the light shimmer in once in a while, letting you in instead of losing you in the darkness. Simon Scott strikes new ground on his own, and it may turn out to be just as rich as the ground he treaded 20 years ago.