Published Oct 28, 2016Bands that get categorized as "shoegaze" can stylistically vary greatly, from catchy dream-pop to trippy psychedelia. SIANspheric land closer to the latter end of that spectrum, emulating the space odysseys of the Verve's first album and mellow melancholy of Slowdive. After releasing three strong LPs between 1995 and 2001, they were relatively quiet until now, but their first album in 15 years makes for a relatively strong comeback, with fortunate timing too, given the recent revitalization of the genre.
The first thing one might notice is that the genre trademarks — the lush guitar textures and laconic vocals — are taken to extremes. The vocals are lower in the mix than most shoegaze bands (quite a feat), and the impressionistic guitars approach the chiming, warbling ambience of Windy & Carl. The rhythm section gently nudges things along, but doesn't interfere with the space to think and feel that the ambience affords. The guitar work of SIANspheric in the context of a rock band slyly undermines what it means to rock in the original sexual sense, edging closer instead to post-rock spiritualism (check out the lofty choirs on "I Have It").
The original UK shoegazers sometimes made comparisons to free jazz (albeit with guitar noise and feedback replacing the language of the blues). SIANspheric take that comparison literally on the alarming "Los Herejes," with bombastic horns thickening their noise. And to bring it home for the last song, "-" hearkens back to mid '80s proto-shoegaze, when the Jesus and Mary Chain were the loudest band ever and MBV were still figuring out the primal secrets of extreme noise.
Overall, Writing the Future in Letters of Fire is a curious trip down memory lane and into the future, simultaneously. Fans will not want to miss it. (Sonic Unyon)