Robin Guthrie Continental

Founding member of the Cocteaus Twins, Robin Guthrie, has done an admirable job keeping himself busy since the demise of his band with Liz Fraser and Simon Raymonde in 1997. He founded the Bella Union record label with Raymonde (European home to the Dears, Howling Bells and Explosions in the Sky), has worked various jobs as a producer and engineer, released an album under the name Violet Indiana, and last year co-scored Gregg Araki’s critically acclaimed film Mysterious Skin. And throw a wife and two kids in there to boot. But Guthrie is full aware that his fan base still want more, especially along the lines of the music that made him such a musical visionary. Essentially, he is the inventor of the shoegazing movement that included luminaries such as Slowdive, Ride, Lush and My Bloody Valentine. His second instrumental solo album, Continental is much of what you’d expect from the effects pedal virtuoso: incandescent soundscapes, ethereal ambience, exquisite guitar work and an overwhelming sense of bliss. The only problem is Guthrie is either continuing the work he started in the Cocteaus or taking a chapter from the pages of his followers. Case in point is "The Day Star,” where he reaches an aggressive volume that would make Mogwai laugh at his feeble and dated attempt to match the quiet to loud, post-rock dynamics that are long gone out of fashion. It’s songs like "Last Exit” that we’re jonesin’ for, but without Fraser’s numinous vocal, it’s just background music at best. Unless he can learn to progress somehow or find another leading lady (or fella), Guthrie’s creating dreamscapes that are designed to simply wash away with the tide. (Darla)