Reviews Kindling Galaxies

Kindling

Galaxies

Debuting in 2014 and quickly releasing the surprisingly outstanding Spike & Wave 7”, Easthampton, Massachusetts-based Kindling has undergone a substantial metamorphosis over the past few years. The original duo of Stephen Pierce (he of Ampere) and Gretchen Williams have been joined by drummer Andy Skelly and bassist Andrew Farr, allowing the group's initially rather sparse material to be fleshed out into full dream pop grandeur.

Drenched in heavy reverb, Kindling's 2015 release Galaxies starts off with a track in “Blinding Wave” that merges a jubilant overall sound with an irresistible punk rock sort of energy. It's an immediately compelling opener, and one that's almost the complete opposite of laid-back follow-up piece “While Away.” The glorious “Painkiller” only reinforces the notion that Kindling is arguably among the best contemporary shoegazer projects. Melodic but fuzzy doubled-up vocals by Williams and Pierce float over frequently gnarly torrents of guitar, with Skelly providing a throbbing forward momentum to the comparatively lengthy composition. Finale “Coastal” is a significantly huskier rework of a track first appearing in rudimentary form on 2014's Spare Room demo. Though it's the album's shortest cut and, in context, plays like somewhat of an afterthought, this immediately gorgeous piece is probably my favorite.

Galaxies continues Kindling's string of incredibly solid (if all-too brief) releases, and did nothing if not leave me wanting more. Now that the band has shored up its lineup, they've joined Baltimore's Wildhoney as the best modern representatives I've found of the hazed-out first wave shoegaze sound. Highly recommended to genre fans.

8.5 / 10Andy
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8.5 / 10

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