I am a sucker for good shoegaze, and I remember the heydays of shoegaze, when it was overshadowed by grunge in the USA and Britpop in the UK. I remember when “shoegaze” as a label was thought of as an acerbic dirty word, but I never thought of it that way; actually, I thought of it as a red badge of courage or a scarlet A, proof that musicians out there were working on music of artistic substance and disregarded what mainstream radio thought of as appropriate. And of course, all good music is infectious and communicable, and shoegaze is starting to prove its legacy. And if you thought that shoegaze was only for Brits and a few Americans, I have a surprise for you: //orangenoise.
Hailing from Karachi, Pakistan, //orangenoise is composed of Danial Hyatt (drums and percussion), Daniel Arthur Panjwaneey (bass, vocals), Faizan Riedinger (guitar), and Talha Asim Wynne (guitar, vocals). Wearing their red badge of courage with pride, this is truly shoegaze: whirling feedback drenched guitars over memorable melodies and rhythms. But //orangenoise, however, does not replicate the early shoegazers. They have learnt from this style, infused a bit of the 60s, psychadelia, post-punk, and post-rock, and created music that is compelling, urgent, and fresh. Their debut, “//vercious EP” (11 January 2011), is nothing sort of spellbinding, and from the first listen I was in shoegaze heaven.
The EP opens with “Rabblerouser” (one of my favorite words in the English language); closer to the shoegaze of Catherine Wheel than Ride, the song is guttural, earthy, and grounded. Pure shoegaze, free of the etherealness of dream pop, the song is thriving and urgent. Then comes “On the Run,” sporting some garage rock and a 60s influence in the vocal style. “Trust” starts with a feel of serenity, and then crashes into swirling and moaning guitars, continually changing up the sonic intensity; the vocal arrangements are upfront in the first half of the song, leaving the latter half to whirl around through a journey of shifting soundscapes. In terms of a truly classic shoegaze sound (for the purists), there is “Veradicine.” Harrowingly distorted guitars against an ethereal backdrop, which has that near to free-falling-kind-of-feelilng, are juxtaposed against one another to generate a powerful undertow. Of course, it is the closing, “I Know Everything,” that caught my ears the most. One word: Epic! Very classic post-punk meets dream pop / shoegaze, the song is very subtle in its arrangements, but clever enough to sound blatant and grandiose.
Amazing shoegaze, incredibly compelling songs – what more do you need to know? Support //orangenoise!
2. On the Run
5. I Know Everything
Keep up with at their Facebook and Bandcamp page, where you can stream and/or download the EP. Also, here is the link for guitarist/vocalist Talha Asim Wynne on MySpace and Twitter.
Here is a live performance of “Rabblerouser” and “Veradicine” from the talhavai YouTube Channel.