Shmu Lead Me to the Glow

Shmu Lead Me to the Glow
8
The twitchy, ever-morphing creativity and robust technical skills of Sam Chown (Zorch) are on full display on his newest release under the Shmu banner. Lead Me to the Glow is a neon-soaked confection of bombastic progressive rock, hazy, synth-drenched dream pop and experimental glitch vapour.
 
Without watering down any of his bolder inclinations, Chown and an array of guest contributors have created some of the most purely catchy pieces of his career (the title track drops some serious tropical bop). Even at the album's most insane, like the aggressively chopped glitch-isms of "Heals Much Faster" and its Thundercat-assimilated-by-the-Borg bass, there's a natural flow to the madness that comes from years of steadily developing ways to integrate wild ideas with elements of familiarity.
 
There are no slender tracks, at around five minutes each, but any time a piece hints that it might be settling in to overstay its welcome, Chown pulls off another inventive turnaround or adds just the right new sonic texture to reinvigorate it. Its often frantic abstractions won't be for everyone, though for those seeking something fresh and rich in dreamy detail, let your ears lead you to Shmu's Glow. (Independent)