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Loden

Valeen Hope

(Mush; US: 10 Apr 2007; UK: 30 Apr 2007)

While recently reviewing the latest disc of electronic shoegaze from Ulrich Schnauss, I couldn’t help feeling that it seemed a shame to lose all of shoegaze’s original noisiness in his reverb-washed synth lines. It all just felt a little too smooth and polished, a little too easy. Fortunately, the Netherlands’ Loden restores my faith: electronically-augmented shoegaze need not be clinically clean. On the contrary, his Valeen Hope is alive with searing tape hiss and digital crunch, huge chords glimmering with grit and static throughout. He even manages to turn out an encouraging level of variety start to finish. “Vlugt” opens as a pulsing static wash and builds into insistent noise-pop glory, while “Sugar Tea” wastes no time before launching into overdriven guitar riffs, glockenspiel, and layers of streaking synthlines. “Tears for the Thirsty” waits its entire length to reveal its full, driving bassline. The bleary arpeggios of “Our Exploding Lives” suggests Black Moth Super Rainbow. It’s a little scattered, but the gleefully noisy production and solid rock inflections link it all together into an intelligible whole.

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