Chicago-based shoegaze outfit Airiel has certainly nailed the lush, swooning atmospherics that typify its genre. On this four-track EP, an enveloping mist of bodiless synths and sighing guitars swirl in the air around frontman Jeremy Wrenn and guest Stella Tran, whose cherubic backing vocals are not so much sung as exhaled. The group’s reliance on basic drum machine beats and bliss-inducing hypnotics places Kid Games in the somnambulist school of shoegazer records, so while a constant off-beat hi-hat in “Flashlight Tag” does more to keep listeners alert and attentive than is readily discernible, elsewhere the distinction between “dreamy” and “nap-inducing” isn’t so effectively delineated.
I found that the pleasant melodies threaded through the EP were prone to washing over me without registering, no matter how many times I pressed the rewind button in my attempts to finally capture Airiel’s vaporous music. I do assign credit to the band for swaying me into repeating such actions with no compunctions, as Kid Games manifests an intangible beauty that makes additional surveys by no means unwelcome.
// Notes from the Road
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