In recent years, bands like The Klaxons and New Young Pony Club have been given credit for bringing back, and updating the "Mad-chester" rave scene of the 1980s and 90s. Now, another British alt-fad of that era is beginning to be reworked by a new generation. A few new artists have made some strong hints towards the kind of spaced-out sound that caused the critical acclaim of the shoegaze genre some twenty years ago. The self-titled, debut album from, White Noise Sound, however, offers the closest recreation of the wall of sound built by bands like My Bloody Valentine and The Jesus and Mary Chain in years.
It is clear from the grinding, echoing guitars and laconic vocals of "Sunset" (the album’s opening track), that this Welsh sextet has the musical onions to dive straight into this experimental form. "Sunset" is one of the more steadily paced songs on the record. Riff, rhythm, and chorus are all present on the track. But, if the album opener shows White Noise Sound at driving pace, much of the rest of the album sees them meandering through noises both grounded and floating.
Some songs, like "(In Both) Dreams & Ecstasies," blossom quite brilliantly in terms of their instrumental movement. The sun-dripped psychedelics of that song, in particular, could easily be imagined hovering over a large festival crowd. Other tracks, however, are somewhat unable to move out of their own, reverberating sludge. Though interesting to a point, eight-minute compositions like "Blood (Reprise)" and "No Place To Hide" may only be fully appreciated by the most patient of listeners.
There are some other extremely strong moments on White Noise Sound’s freshman LP. "Blood" begins with a clashing, distorted guitar intro, before breaking open in to the catchiest riff and hook of the record. It is a song that brings to mind some of The Stooges most accessible work and provides the standout of this debut release. "There Is No Tomorrow" is another, differently flavored, slice of the album that works well. This dream pop ballad has less foot-pedaled distortion than other songs. A necessary unification of soft vocals and clearer guitars exists on the song; the album’s most tranquil tune is rounded off rather wonderfully by a burst of horns at its climax.
At its height, shoegaze was once described as part of "the scene that celebrates itself." White Noise Sound certainly possess enough skill within this subgenre to become forerunners of a "nu-gaze" movement. The question, however, is whether there is room, in the modern indie music spectrum for this recycled scene to really take off? Time and trends will tell. In the meantime, this is an album that can be appreciated just as easily for its progressive nature as it can for nods to the past. Regardless of whether or not we find ourselves on the cusp of another retro fad, White Noise Sound have made a solid, intriguing experimental debut.