[12 August 2014]
PopMatters Music Editor - Canada
Kestrels is a noise pop trio from Halifax, Nova Scotia, and, boy, is their four-song stop-gap EP, The Moon Is Shining Our Way ever fantastic. While some may scoff at their My Bloody Valentine infused sound, consider this: many would try to emulate Loveless, and probably fail doing so. Fewer would go after the group’s much more criminally underrated Isn’t Anything, which is precisely what Kestrels do on this outstanding EP. Starting out with the fuzzed out “Eternal and Debased”, Kestrels don’t relent or give up throughout the course of this 15-minute bonafide treat. The song rides an emotion created out of airplane vapour trails, and simply rocks out in full-frontal bare fashion. Yes, you have the tremolo riding trickery of MBV, but it’s one thing that Kestrels do quite well, even if they do come across as being a copycat act. Given that MBV’s output hasn’t been exactly prolific, one should welcome this with open arms, if you’re into that kinda thing.
What makes this album so special lies in the template of the title track, which hits the same sweet spot as the Pains of Being Pure at Heart’s “Belong”. It starts out with a ferocious guitar that’ll give your speakers a work out, before settling in with a more bassline-heavy verse. The interplay between the harsh and the soft is what elevates this song to the highest level. But the rest of the EP is just as stunning. Final track “The Double” is an agreeably plodding piece of sludge rock that isn’t boring, it’s actually quite captivating with its pummelling riffs. “Wide Eyes” is a tack more than two minutes punk-infused number, which illustrates that Kestrels have more in their tricks bag than effects pedals. All in all, The Moon Is Shining Our Way cuts through the night with clarity and precision, and makes one proud that a Canadian group could go so far out of their way to sound as British as they do here. This is an EP that transcends the shoegaze genre, and is simply marvelous for what it accomplishes.