Reviews Whirr Pipe Dreams


Pipe Dreams

Formerly known as Whirl this band has been within the emerging hype machine of the shoegaze / Dream pop underground. After a demo and EP that were both well regarded they managed to both change their name, get noticed more, and get signed by psych rock label Tee-Pee Records. Their past EP Distressor contained showed a band with the ability to use the ebb and wave of the crashing guitars used in shoegaze to carry the lilting melodies underneath. The band that is probably most related to them shares this ability in some ways and that is Deafheaven. With the other band's explosion in popularity Whirr managed to become more well known as well. Beyond all that after a bit of a wait the band has given us their first LP in Pipe Dreams.

As mentioned earlier the band's stock in trade is new school shoegaze. This is not to say they don't do more than their part to hearken back to the classic era of the style as well. Playing almost a more gentle version of Slowdive (carried mostly within the vocals) along with at points almost poppy lead guitars. All of these things are buried under a thick wave of reverb. While there are many bands doing this style in a general sense it would be shortsighted to not give the band some credit for sticking out a little. The band employ smart use of backing vocals that allowing things to feel a bit more dreamlike while the rhythm section tends to keep the tempo up much more than most of the bands related to them (within their scene) would even bother to.

The main complaint lies in production it seems. While it would be easy to speak of the overwhelming reverb as a genre marker it is much more reasonable to also blame it on why the album plays out the way it does. While the songs are not bad and nothing on the recording is outright offensive to the ears the reverb buries everything. The vocals while pleasant at points almost seem as though they are a secondary instrument in the sense that one would be hard pressed to make out a single word for the entirety of the disc. If even the vocals were brought up into the mix more or weren't covered in effects the listener could maybe have a chance at a more formal relationship with the songs and lyrics. Instead by doing this the band almost ends up with an instrumental vibe. While in itself this wouldn't be bad, the songs are of a style that makes it hard to rely on solely the instrumentation to carry it. Simply put this is a slightly enjoyable but not quite interesting shoegaze record that both lives and dies by the bands idiosyncrasies.

7.2 / 10Jon E.
See also
KFAI - Roar of the Underground
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