Friday, October 15, 2010

Altar Eagle - Mechanical Gardens

Altar Eagle
Mechanical Gardens
(2010, Type)
RIYL = Broadcast, Peaking Lights, A Place To Bury Strangers

It’s amazing, sometimes, to see the breadth of influence a single band can have on everything that follows in its wake. My Bloody Valentine is undoubtedly among the most ubiquitous when it comes to their musical influence. It seems that any record with hazy, distorted, ethereal guitar noises demands an MBV name check, like the band is collecting royalties from its offspring. Still, others probably account for the perpetual MBV referencing as point of critical laziness. Whatever it may be, the band’s influence looms heavy and, as you’ve already guessed I’m sure, Altar Eagle’s Mechanical Gardens has no way of escaping this point of comparison. Fortunately, among the stale imitators, those who choose to wear the MBV tag like a dead carcass, as a marketing bullet point, there are those who use My Bloody Valentine as a jumping-off point, who manage, despite their nearly identical allegiance in terms of aesthetic values, to create a worthwhile space for themselves in a post-MBV world. As it turns out, when it is done correctly, the music My Bloody Valentine pioneered over twenty years ago is still as wonderfully vibrant and blissfully addictive as it’s ever been. On Mechanical Gardens, married duo Brad Rose (of The North Sea) & Eden Hemming-Rose have created an absorbing pool of noise-speckled pop built on drum machines, squabbling electronics and Kevin-Shield-esque guitar worship. Add to that the dreamy vocals of Eden (not to mention those contributed by Brad) and you have the complete package. It may not be the most original music to grace my ears this year, but that doesn’t mean it’s not one of the most enjoyable. A seriously top-notch album.


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