Music Reviews
Everything Else Matters

Pinkshinyultrablast Everything Else Matters

(Club AC30) Buy it from Insound Rating - 8/10

Though it may be the name of an album from shoegaze supergroup Astrobrite, seeing a band calling themselves Pinkshinyultrablast may lead you to, once again, proclaim that all the decent names are taken. However, the more you listen to Everything Else Matters, the St. Petersburg quintet’s debut LP, the more that moniker begins to make sense. Whilst ascribing colours to sound is probably best left to the synaesthetes, you could certainly describe their music as ‘shiny’ – guitars shimmer in waves, and there’s a gloss to the production. However, that gloss is regularly undercut by intense bursts of noise and frantic percussion work; the ‘ultrablast’, if you will.

Not only does Pinkshinyultrablast’s name pay homage to the genre, they’re also indebted to shoegaze for pretty much everything else. Comparisons to Cocteau Twins and My Bloody Valentine are obvious and may seem lazy, but those bands come to mind for good reason. The vocals of singer Lyubov are otherworldly and entrancing in a way that’s eerily reminiscent of Elizabeth Fraser, and often veer into incomprehensible glossolalia, also like Fraser.

However, if you’re concerned that Pinkshinyultrablast are just a bunch of unimaginative Russian Cocteaus disciples, you’ll be pleasantly surprised. They’re more like Cocteau Twins reimagined by angst-ridden, bookish teenagers. Swathes of guitar and white noise cut through the ethereal moods, sometimes even breaking out into post-rock and prog motifs. This is matched by a ferocious rhythmic assault, courtesy of drummer Sergey, which recalls Battles at their most frenetic.

At times, Everything Else Matters feels like more of a continuous suite rather than an album of individual songs, and that can be both a blessing and a curse. On the positive side, it’s an album to really get immersed in – layers upon layers of guitar, chiming and heavy with reverb, envelop you, and like much of the best shoegaze, create a womb of challenging yet comforting sound. On the other hand, the lack of distinctness coupled with the unintelligible vocals mean the album hasn’t any obvious stand-out moments, and it’s not the easiest record with which to connect.

These are fairly minor complaints though. Everything Else Matters is a strong and accomplished debut by a band that, whilst clearly taking a lot of their cues from the past, are still looking to push sonic boundaries and create intelligent mood pieces. When chillwave was all the rage a couple of years back, it often lacked the requisite beauty to be transformative whilst also not having much in terms of guts and drive. With their shoegaze influences and skilled playing, Pinkshinyultrablast avoid both those pitfalls whilst still giving us something which is, in parts, nothing less than stunningly gorgeous.