Death Blues
Questionnaire II

Daniel Bachman
Blevin Blectum
Ulises Conti
Ian William Craig
Dakota Suite & Sirjacq
Death Blues
Yair Etziony
Imagho & Mocke
Kassel Jaeger
John Kannenberg
Martin Kay
Kontakt der Jünglinge
Akira Kosemura
Land Observations
Klara Lewis
Oliver Lieb
Nikkfurie of La Caution
Pitre and Allen
Michael Robinson
Slow Dancing Society
Tender Games
Tirey / Weathers
Tokyo Prose
The Void Of Expansion
wild Up
Yodok III
Russ Young

Compilations / Mixes
Dessous Sum. Grooves 2
Silence Was Warm Vol. 5
Under The Influence Vol. 4

EPs / Cassettes / Mini-Albums / Singles
Belle Arché Lou
Blind EP3
Blocks and Escher
Sunny Graves
Paradox & Nucleus
Pye Corner Audio
Sawa & Kondo
Toys in The Well
Marshall Watson

Lightfoils: Hierarchy
Saint Marie Records

Though Saint Marie Records boasts a number of shoegaze outfits on its roster, Lightfoils isn't one of them. Oh, sure, the Chicago quintet—vocalist Jane Zabeth, guitarists Neil Yodnane and Zeeshan Abbasi, bassist Cory Osborne, and drummer John Rungger—stokes a high-decibel blaze emblematic of shoegaze, but on its debut album Lightfoils often pushes the genre into considerably noisier territory, one more akin to My Bloody Valentine than Cocteau Twins. Put simply, with Lightfoils' sound bleeding into multiple genres, it does it a disservice to affix a single label to it. As the band's line-up indicates, the ten-cut set, produced by Sanford Parker and checking in at a concise forty-one minutes, is heavy on guitars and light on keyboards, though synthesizers do sneak in on occasion to smoothen the edges of the group's raw delivery.

That Lightfoils is content to take its place amongst its shoegaze brethren appears evident during the opening “Polar Waves” when ethereal vocals drift in concert with the song's downtempo rhythms, but as the album advances the group's heavier side comes to the fore. The subsequent song, “Last One,” retains the ethereal aura of the opener but bolsters it with a punchier attack, the seething six-strings this time egged on by the harder-hitting rhythm section, while the ferocious “Addict” inflames shoegaze dreaminess with a punk-styled ferocity. Structurally, “Mock Sun” spotlights two sides of the band in alternating between chiming shoegaze passages and grungier episodes. Certainly one of the album's standouts is “Diastolic,” which backs Zabeth's feather-light vocalizing with a punk-funk pattern in a way that suggests some celestial merger of Lush, Gang of Four, and Remain in Light-era Talking Heads.

Interestingly, Lightfoils indulges its ethereal tendencies to the fullest degree on the set's two untitled pieces: the first is particularly cathedralesque in its wordless vocalizing, organ chords, and guitar-fueled haze, whilst the second plays like a folk traditional clothed in psychedelic garb. All genre considerations aside, labels come to seem like so much wasted energy when a song such as “Passage” suggests it would be wiser to set analysis aside and simply bask in Hierarchy's glorious sound.

August-September 2014