Published Aug 14, 2014Shimmering Stars built their reputation by marrying sinister lyrics with sunny, Everly Brothers melodies, then smearing the proceedings with reverb. The echo-pop remains on their follow-up, but the Vancouver via Kamloops, BC band muddy the waters here, mixing in sludgy elements cribbed from front-man Rory McClure's conveniently titled side-project, Bedrooms of the Nation.
"Dérèglement" borrows liberally from the Everlys' "Cathy's Clown" yet still manages to create a creeping track that transcends its origins. "Role Confusion," meanwhile, drops fits of spastic guitar noise over driving bass and drums that sits somewhere between early '90s grunge and noise rock. But it's McClure's penchant for melody that elevates the band; what begins as just another riff on early '90s alt-rock tropes is turned into a soaring stack of vocal harmonies.
Shimmering Stars remain indebted to a wide swath of past influences, but the defining feature of Bedrooms of the Nation is the band's ability to make listeners feel united in their loneliness. It's a more consistent record than their debut, even if it lacks that album's highest highs. (Hardly Art)