With the regular shoegaze revival cycle now firmly a part of the mainstream music’s calendar, the genre’s hallmarks are about as well known as any of rock’s subcultures. This debut LP by young Toronto act Bliss Fields, Slowly, Forever, sees the band working with a palette of the archetypical 90s shoegaze forms and creating a snapshot of the sound at its most vivid. Sounding like it just burst through a black hole from ‘92, the band’s devotion to representing the genre here is backed with a set of great songs.
A tight ten-track of chorus and reverb tidal work, layered MBV washes, pounding drums / melodic lively low end and pealing lead melodies, Slowly, Forever is verse chorus verse pop coated in various varieties of sugar and feedback.
This is an energetic and hazily youthful take on a style moored in history, noise over song, and revivalism. Pushing emotions, though it’s mostly longing, through melody and noise, accusations of copycatting just don’t land for a record this good. The production sees each track with a different sleight of style, each manipulating the elements in different ways, from pounding nods to Ride, multiple harmonies strapped to a band with an engine, and single “Clementine”, a title that will automatically lead the listener in a Cocteaus’ direction even before the gorgeous lead guitar lines chime out. Closing out with the pedal-drenched dubbyness of “Recluse” seals the deal on the time capsule sonics.
Calling it a shoegaze classic really isn’t hyperbole.