Gloomchurch – Solar

The album cover from Gloomchurch’s Solar depicts an alien landscape featuring two people staring at the night sky, approaching a glowing city that’s downcast by purple night light. It’s otherworldly while giving away hints of familiarity, it’s landmass is absurd yet has grounding on reality. It’s Impressive how much this cover art fits well with the contents of this 5-track EP. 

Gloomchurch is a dream-pop band from Portland Oregon, where the dream part of that label has been invaded by purple-tinged shoegaze textures that feel like transmissions from outer space. Noise and heavenly soundscapes clash with each other, hailing back to the old-school shoegaze of the 90’s.

Opener “Solar” has little hint of a sunny feeling to it. Instead things are taken beyond the atmosphere, where the music feels like a bombardment of solar flare barely hindered by the earth’s magnetic field. There’s a soft undertone of synthy glow to it that’s relayed by hazy vocals to balance things out. I must admit this song requires a little bit of reorientation at first due to its rough and abrasive noise, but once you get the hang of it the rest of the ride feels glorious and rather smooth.

“Slow and Shaking” side-steps the textural coalescence to make way for a heavy rock palette. This is where the 90’s nostalgia rings clear, where the bridge between grunge and shoegaze shows itself and I find myself restlessly banging my head. “Date Night” follows suit with an airy and fuzzy aesthetic. A feeling of being suspended in anti-gravity persists as the swirling guitars and the grainy melodies seem to elevate the whole track. By far the most relaxing tune in the EP.

“Freak Scene” is a cover from Dinosaur Jr.’s late 90’s single, this rendition is drowned out by a thick lather of guitar effects and a slow-burning tempo that throws the original in a whole other dimension. “Lost in Some Glare” is the bonus track that you shouldn’t miss. The weird and dreaminess in this cut seems to be pulled at their extremes, and the result is nothing short of mind-bending.

This may be the first output of Gloomchurch, but the band shows great promise provides an experience that’s truly their own. This should be a must check out for noise and shoegaze enthusiasts out there.

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