Swatches of sophisticated ambient swirls and prog rock jettisons roped in lounging windmill rolling rhythms is a huge chunk of Different Shade of Beauty, the new CD from Tearwave. The Buffalo, New York outfit has delicate sensibilities relatable to Coldplay and dreamy sound scapes that construct sonic pathways lined by castles with spires shooting up to the sky and turrets that feel like they go on forever with the flesh of shiny sheets of ice. It is music that listeners can escape into, like a virtual world that places no stress on your shoulders and no conflicts in your path.
Tracks like “Shattered Fairytale,” “Holding On,” and “Nothing’s Wrong” have tubes of celestial sounding effects and resonating crystal-stained glitters. A heavier storm rides in through “Reflection” and “Falling from Grace,” but the band never ceases to please the listener’s sensory system. The vocals of Jennifer Manganiello seem weightless as she glides effortlessly across the softly dimpled swells of drummer John Stephanski and bassist Joey Villella, while keyboardist/guitarist Doug White constructs the glacier formations and the aquiline angles and delicately twinkling chimes. The spokes in the melodic treads of “Can’t Go Home” dig in with a firm stake as Manganiello’s vocals move maleably over the jettisons. Sonic dewdrops move around Manganiello’s vocals in “Claiming Life” trickling with a fine-point penmanship sinking into the melody and darkening the mood, which then slip into the haunting “Under the Milky Way” as acoustic guitar shadows traipse eerily along the synth textured sheets.
Though the ethereal tones and ambient-filled sound scapes can become repetitive, Tearwave move out of those ruts by turning their sound prisms a new way and changing the luster of their chords. The differences are subtle but able to make the songs intriguing. Manganiello’s angelic voicing resounds beautifully through the acoustic guitar caves formed along “Ripped Apart” as she sings, “This is your trial / Make or break this time / Turn the page / And rewrite your story / Let it go / Make the sacrifice / Change the wind / In your direction.” Their lyrics show this recurring theme of letting go of the past viewing it as wasted time and taking part in the present. The music drifts at the speed of ocean waves rolling in the middle of the sea. The Asian-toned strings of “Forgettable Name” are manacled by stormy effects and softly booming rapids while Manganiello’s vocals seem unaffected by the melodic mayhem holding steady through the haunting echoes of “Question” and “72 BPM.”
With 17 tracks on the album, it’s a lot of music with much of it reminiscent of ‘90s shoegaze bands like My Bloody Valentine and the Cocteau Twins. But like Tearwave’s lyrical themes suggest, they direct their radar towards the present. It is music that you can imagine belongs to the underworld, making sounds from kegs of liquid nitrogen converting gas into billowing clouds of smoke. Its pleasing flesh of ice is cooling on the senses and makes for a desirable sanctuary.
Recommended if you like: Cocteau Twins, Coldplay, Dream Aria, Monsters are Waiting
Maybe its me but a think this band has a major worship of Two 90's indie/ shoegazer band called Lush and Curve. Jennifer's vocals are soaring and powerful but at time are too fragile for the music at hand. There is a strong love of The Cure and Dead Can Dance at times. I really get why there creating here esp with the bombastic echoed percussion and the monsterous verbed and chorused out guitars and that driving bass line. It's I've just heard this all before and to be honest Projekt has a much stronger band in the name of Mira the does this style with a much more diverse palette. The songs sound good and the CD is very well done its just something way to familiar about it all for me to fall in love with it like others have.
After a strong if somewhat conventional debut album showing that the quartet really loved any number of artistic goth and shoegaze forebears, Tearwave's sophomore effort, Different Shades of Beauty, aims for the grand -- a full CD's worth of songs at 77 minutes -- and raises its game considerably as a result. While still happily working within the general style, the Buffalo group sounds much more direct than before -- something like the spiraling up-and-down riffs and clearer singing on the opening "Shattered Fairytale" has a surging confidence at work. It's readily audible at many points throughout the album, such as "Reflection," with piano and John Stephanski's crashing drums carrying a huge feedback swell up and out, and the multi-part "Read Me," especially its staccato, extended conclusion. If much of the album sticks to a steady pace -- not too slow to drag, not so fast as to charge ahead fully -- exceptions provide variety, such as "Nothing's Wrong," with a killer chorus not all that removed from early 21st century radio rock, immediate and memorable, and the ethereal heartbeat-paced closer, "72 BPM," all echo and distorted vocals resulting in a calm conclusion for the whole listen. Meanwhile, there's also an enjoyable nod to a forebear with a cover of the Church's "Under the Milky Way" -- if the band doesn't do much with the arrangement beyond a slightly slower pace (and the squalling guitar solo that replaces the synth bagpipes of the original, not entirely successfully), it's still a good tip of the hat to one of the moodiest pop hits to ever make the charts (though credit as well to the brief fragment of Catherine Wheel's "Black Metallic" that concludes "Ripped Apart"). Rating: 3.5/5 - Ned Raggett
Sam Rosenthal e la Projekt: oltre venti anni fa avremmo scritto Ivo e la 4AD, perchè così simile è la voglia di aprirsi al nuovo, su progetti che con delicate atmosfere oniriche creano la propria arte. Aggiungo, per fortuna, che un'eredità così fondamentale non si è persa, ma ha proseguito come brace a mantenere il fuoco acceso accasandosi principalmente negli States. Compagni di scuderia di Autumn Grey's Solace e Black Tape For A Blue Girl, i Tearwave - dopo il debut eponimo uscito solo un anno fa sempre per la Projekt - sono chiamati alla prova di maturità, e la superano senza creare una pietra miliare, bensì regalando diverse tracce che nel computo del dischetto ottengono la piena sufficienza con punte di eccellenza. Sono tante 17 canzoni, considerando che l'uscita è successiva di soli 12 mesi alla precedente, quindi a volte il disco appare forzato, ma in più di un'occasione Jennifer Manganiello e la sua band hanno avuto la forza di emozionare nell'ascolto. È un album molto lungo e delle tracce presenti qualcuna si trascina, ma l'insieme denota un grande universo sonoro, supportato da molte idee già sviluppate ed altre da sviluppare in futuro che vedono come perno la voce di Jennifer, tra eterei vocalizzi di scuola Fraser e più ombrati, introspettivi colori che portano il ricordo ad Hungry Lucy, mentre la chitarra di Doug White suona spesso acida e noise (senza finire però nel rumorismo dei Sonic Youth), un po' sugli arpeggi dei Blonde Redhead di "Misery Is A Butterfly". Ho apprezzato molto la batteria poliedrica ed imperiosa in alcune tracce come "Forgettable Name", tuonante nello scandire le visionarie psichedelie: l'ottima tecnica di John Stephanski supporta il sound delicato dell'insieme senza aggredire ma rafforzandolo, mentre finisce un po' in ombra il basso suonato da Joe Villella. Nei momenti migliori il dischetto è come un morbido quadro dai colori tenui: il sapore del tardo autunno è forte, immagini di parchi spogli o prati innevati, colori smorzati ma pregni di candore che invitano al chiudersi in sé stessi, cercando la propria intimità, o se condivisa, in casa con amici tra fumi di incenso e vino rosso, aspettando la stagione del sole. Anche se a volte sinfonici come in "Ripped Apart", i Tearwave non arrivano alla tragica e straziata musica dei Sigur Rós, sebbene il senso di orchestra sia comunque importante, ma si collocano in una nicchia più minimale; la cover di "Under The Milky Way" dei Church è un piccolo gioiello di rivisitazione personale, senza per questo alterare la bellezza del brano originale. L'eredità Cocteau Twins è comunque presente: chitarra e basso non si articolano nei riverberi di Guthrie e Raymonde, però "Holding On" e "Reflection" si collegano all'eredità di "Milk And Kisses" o "Heaven Or Las Vegas", non di certo alla prima fase artistica dell'incomparabile trio scozzese. Il piano esalta l'intima sfera della voce femminile (i Cranes sono dietro l'angolo), ed in certi frangenti lo stile shoegaze si esalta in tenui colori che richiamano la scarna presenza degli alberi spogli della copertina con lo sfondo malato del cielo autunnale, colori forti ma smorzati dall'ocra rossa: sono i colori del nord degli States (i Tearwave sono di Buffalo) visti in tanti film, che esaltano la malinconia dei grandi parchi spogli, di solitudini volute, passeggiate uggiose in fredde giornate in cui l'aria fredda del mattino sferza il volto. "Different Shade Of Beauty" è tutto ciò, e vale la pena commuoversi per tutta la durata abbondante dell'album, aspettando il sole di aprile. Rating: 7/10 - Nicola Tenani
Tearwave have managed to create a mammoth of an album here. 17 well produced songs of easy darkwave listening. Remember when bands like the Cure used to produce albums with this many tracks and you couldn’t comprehend just how god most of the songs were? That was of course 20 years ago. Tearwave are continuing that trend of quality and quantity. A feat that can embarrass those who are just not capable of producing this type of material in such measures.
Things start off slow and grand with ‘Shattered Fairytale’ which is like a Tearwave introduction. Spiraling guitars and drums with Jennifer Manganeillo’s voice echoing all over the place. This leads into the thunder and rain (ok, maybe a cliché) of ‘Holding On’ and you realize that this album is going to be a journey. Again it isn't often that an album comes along that makes you block off the outside world so you can relish every moment of it. Anticipation building as the album makes its journey.
Tearwave come under the ever growing Projekt record label based in the states who are devoted to publishing music from the gothic and especially darkwave music field. Tearwave along with Autumn’s Grey Solace are certainly one of the more traditionally pretty bands to listen to. But there is deep thought and intensity that has been put into this work.
The afore mentioned ‘Shattered Fairytale’ is certainly a starting stand out, but such treats as a more pop friendly ‘Nothing’s Wrong’ and the total shoegaze fit of ‘Under the Milky Way’ which recalls lost bands such as Lush (a band commonly linked with Tearwave, but you see why when listening). Here they are at their most dreamy, but they are at their most alluring and darkly with the hypnotically spiraling ‘Love Only Makes Me Weak.’
It seems that after an impressionable first album the only way to tale a second was to go all out and write the heck out of this one. Efforts that have ultimately paid off – but you hope they don’t go burning out too fast and can endure producing such material whilst keeping themselves fresh.
Tearwave have taken a very versatile genre of music that seemed to fade and fizzle in the late 90’s and are pumping some life back into it. The trouble with music such as this is its unpredictable nature. Most bands that were good at it disappeared without even the opportunity to become mediocre repeats of themselves. Other genres of music have since moved into the spotlight and we haven't heard enough of it since to allow it back. Thankfully in recent years bands such as My Bloody Valentine have reformed, and diverse acts like The Dandy Warhols are broad enough to create a thirst for people to want to find more experimental indie music as opposed to the modern rock of today. Tearwave are without doubt a band who are top of things again. With this second release in as many years they have produced a very impressive body of work here that is ready to join their peers as one band that knew how to create sound and feeling within an attractive work of art. - Steven Hurst
Tearwave's brand of shoegaze is a chillier, silver-rimed species, crystallized around singer Jennifer Manganiello's ultraviolet soprano. Songs follow intelligible paths, avoiding the thick fog of abstraction in favor of rebounding drumbeats and rippling fractals of shimmering guitar, and something from the heart keeps Tearwave grounded, self-reflective and moving. "The Message" dials down the blur and frequency, taking steps toward a personal confidence; "Can't Go Home" builds up from a lonesome riff and breaks away with a slippery, elusive chorus. The band also does a tender version of the Church's "Under the Milky Way." - Carolee
Hot on the heels of the release of their self-titled debut album, we're presented with this excellent follow-up album packed with great music. It comes packaged in a nice jewel case box with a twelve-page booklet containing the lyrics for all 17 dreamy tracks along with some credits and info for those of us that love to have the package along with the music.
From the very beginning of this album we're bombarded with wave after wave of emotions of sadness, loneliness, love, loss and even sometimes a little bit of melancholy happiness (if that's possible). The music is always driving, really bringing on the sound effects on the various guitars and providing a surprisingly dynamic background for Jenn's haunting vocals. These vocals remain soft and lush throughout the album no matter how intense the music gets, providing a soft cushion for taking the edge off the music a bit. While they really stick to the recipe of great shoegazer music of starting off soft and then building, building and just when you thought they just couldn't build any more, they manage to pour on some intensity through more layers and guitar fx and crashing percussion. Of course not every track follows this exact pattern, though the album is fairly homogeneous, sticking to their haunting style.
I thought I would touch on a few pieces that stand out for me and that either break the mold or take the shoegazer pattern to its perfection. I think the album starts out perfectly with "Shattered Fairytale" with it's sad, dreamy lyrical and musical content. The music and tempo seems to move along fairly well even with this dreamy piece and some are just plain intense like "Reflection". Part of me wants to lay down and sit and listen to this in a mesmerized state in a darkened room half asleep, while the rhythm and tempo make me want to get up and almost dance, at least sway with the intense guitars and percussion. This seems to be something I enjoy and also something I struggle about with this band. Their music is soft and dreamy, but the intensity and percussion keep it moving fast enough it's hard to classify it as dreamy ethereal, yet too soft to classify as any kind of rock or dance-friendly music, so I have to settle for somewhere in between, great for listening to while driving, working or relaxing in some settings, but too intense for trying to settle down at the end of the day and go to sleep to. One thing that really hit me about their style was when I heard their cover of "Under The Milky Way" and how perfectly this cover works. Again, it's softer and dreamier than the way The Church performs it (played and danced to this many times at the club), but so ethereal, it's just one of those excellent crossover tracks and I realized how similar the two bands are in style, yet so different. Another stellar piece that really stands out is "Falling From Grace" with some powerful timpani accenting the percussion and this music taking it to an all new level and style.
I think that about sums it up. This is a great new album from this band that sticks to the pattern for tried and true good shoegazer music. There's a little bit there that takes them to a new level and helps them to stand out from the crowd, yet they remain right there well within the bounds of what has been done and enjoyed in the past. Good work! Rating: 4.5/5
With their dreampop music which includes shoegaze elements, the American outfit Tearwave immediately recalls memories of the music of My Bloody Valentine, Cocteau Twins and especially Lush. This band from Buffalo in the US state of New York unmistakably belongs to that tradition with their own version of shoegaze guitar music with dreamy female vocals from Jennifer Manganiello and really great icy guitar work with much reverb and delay played by Doug White. The songs on Different Shade of Beauty are more layered than on their debut and better manage to grab the attention as well. Sometimes the guitars even remind of the early works of Dead Can Dance. Highlights are ‘Shattered Fairytale’, ‘Holding On’, ‘The Message’, ‘Falling From Grace’, ‘Love Only Makes Me Weak’ and the great cover version of the The Church song ‘Under the Milky Way. Tearwave is without doubt the best example of a shoegaze band that perfectly translates the atmosphere from those years to our modern time. Tearwave does this by avoiding the genre cliché’s and instead develops an approach of their own. Different Shade of Beauty is an epic album filled with an authentic dreamy darkwave atmosphere and cold shoegaze emotion. Rating: 8/10
The opening words of "Shattered Fairytale" are 'Sleep, Sleeping Beauty, sleep/ It's safer in your dreams.' There has always been an element of lucid dreaming when it comes to this sort of music, by which I mean fragile sounding female vocals, over heavily FX-laden guitars. Often atmosphere is more important that melody, though Tearwave do well on this score too. There's a melancholy feeling running through this song: 'I see no happy endings'. The instrumental break soars majestically, urging you to drown in the sleepy water of the Lethe. The sound of distant thunder ushers the entrance of "Holding On", which starts quietly before surges of guitar and rolling torrents of drums join the fray. It's a quiet/loud dynamic of sorts, but perhaps its most polite form. That's not a criticism; there's a real feeling of power as the song reaches its climax.
"Nothing's Wrong" is singer Jenn's claim. We don't believe her of course. At first she claims 'I'm OK – alone in this dark place I love always'. Perhaps she has found comfort in giving up the fight? Has she found peace in accepting her reality? It would appear not. The rest of the song is a stream of disturbing imagery at odds with the cake-icing prettiness of the music. The tension between the message of the words and the music is a classic one, but it allows for greater complexity of emotion to be communicated. The fairytale imagery of the opening song is continued in "Reflection" with Jenn asking: 'Mirror, mirror on the wall/Tell me what I am supposed to be'. This song is about the acceptance that we will never achieve perfection. These truths are evident even when consumed in written form. There's something about setting them to music that makes them seem even more profound and eternal.
A rippling guitar sound dominates "The Message". If the dials had been set any higher it would sound like R2-D2 but Tearwave get away with it. There are some awkward lurches between different parts of the song, which keeps the listener on their toes. The climax of the song is suitably vast, conjuring the some of the more dramatic moments of The Cure's Disintegration album. There are some large-sounding drums during "Falling From Grace", the listening of which gives the me the impression of being caught in a river that is flowing several directions at once. It's a disorientating experience, not a wholly pleasant one, but it's important for a band like Tearwave to ensure their music doesn't drift into the background. "Can't Go Home" has a hint of My Bloody Valentine's obstreperous nature in the guitars.
"Claiming Life" passes pleasantly, though offers us little different from what has gone before. I wonder whether it was wise of Tearwave to include 17 songs on this album. I like what I hear, but is there enough variety to hold my attention for the whole album? It's almost as if Tearwave knew I would be feeling this way, as they serve a curve ball by offering a cover of The Church's "Under The Milky Way". It works brilliantly, remaining true to the song – yet offering something new. "Read Me" sounds fresher for the change of pace offered by the previous song. There are moments of rhythmical invention, before towers of chiming guitar are paraded for your entertainment. "Love Only Makes Me Weak" features some beautiful string-like sounds. It sounds like standard Tearwave, until three minutes in when things take a dark turn. The swirling guitars remind me of Autumn's "How It Came To Be This Way".
"Ripped Apart" is built around Jenn's voice and an acoustic guitar, albeit it one that's heavily dressed in effects. There's a feel of All About Eve. It adds a much needed note of variety into the proceedings. Meanwhile "Comfort In Angels' Wings" is pleasant, but not memorable. "First Time" has a galloping rhythm, which somehow seems disconnected to Jenn's vocals. The song ends in a deliberately discordant manner. "Forgettable Name" has a spiralling sound that gives this song an Eastern flavour. The whole song is filled with strange noises, from what sounds like a bouncing rubber ball to mysterious monks chanting dolefully. If we still existed in a world where we had b-sides, this has an experimental feeling that would suit that destination.
A strong bass leads "Question" which also features some serious flanging and Jenn's vocals under a gauze of effects. There's more fairytale imagery, with a reference to 'the looking glass'. The under-whelmingly titled "72 BPM" brings the album to a close. The sound of a heart beat provides an unusual rhythmic backing.
While Tearwave are following in the wake of such bands as Slowdive and Chapterhouse, there is a muscular rhythmic inventiveness on offer that gives the band their own identity. The music is pretty, yet refuses just to become window dressing. There is some variety in their sound, but not quite enough over the 77 minutes. Perhaps the trick is not to listen to individual songs, but to let the whole album wash over you.
Het uit Buffalo, NY, afkomstige Tearwave is zo'n band die een zeer goede debuutplaat op de wereld brachten en toen voor de moeilijke opgave stonden een tweede werkje te maken. Nu, laat ik vast verklappen, dat is ze heel goed afgegaan. Een werkje met 17 nieuwe tracks en een lengte van 77 minuten, vol emotie.
Shoegazer is nu niet een genre waarin nog dagelijks platen uitkomen. Eerder ga je dan terug in de tijd voor je vergelijkingen met andere bands. Lush, My Bloody Valentine, om maar wat te noemen. Maar.. Tearwave heeft daadwerkelijk een eigen stijl. Deze is vooral gedragen door de gitaarlagen van Doug White en de zang van Jennifer Manganiello.
Het is zo'n schijf geworden waarbij je wel merkt dat je ruim vijf kwartier aan het luisteren bent, maar dat helemaal niet erg vind. De sterkste twee nummers van de plaat staan weliswaar vooraan ("Shattered Fairytale" en "Holding On"), maar de kwaliteit neemt daarna amper af. En er blijft voldoende variatie aanwezig in zowel power als tempo als emotie om de tijd met plezier uit te zitten.
Voor shoegazer fans die dit plaatje nog niet in bezit hebben is er kortom maar een tip, nu bestellen dat ding. Voor hen die nog niet overtuigd zijn, ook aanschaffen die hap. Luister wellicht naar wat fragmenten op de site van hun label Projekt en overtuig jezelf. Dit is gewoon een meesterwerkje. Ze wilden zelf een episch album opnemen of dat gelukt is vraag ik me af, maar een must-have? Ja.
Different Shades of Beauty is absolutely epic. Everything about Tearwave's second album is huge: the guitars sound like enveloping tidal waves, the bass and drums rumble like thunder, and Jennifer Manganiello's vocals are positively siren-esque. Even the length of the album (seventeen intricate, fully-developed songs!) is magnificent in scope. While it would be ill-advised for many bands to pack that much music on to a single album—familiarity breeds contempt and all that—in Tearwave's case the avalanche of music is most welcome. This is the kind of sonic squall you want to be buried in.
While I greatly appreciated Tearwave's debut album and was impressed by their performance at the Black Sun Festival, nothing really prepared me for Different Shades of Beauty. This album is one of the rare instant-classics, ranking with the best works of Lush, Slowdive, and My Bloody Valentine. The Church's "Under the Milky Way" is a very difficult song to cover effectively, but the Tearwave's version here is both spot-on and gives the song an interesting twist. Different Shades of Beauty is melancholic ethereal shoegaze, perfected. Rating: 5 stars - Jack
Ad un anno di distanza dall'omonimo esordio su Projekt tornano gli americani Tearwave con un monumentale secondo album di quasi ottanta minuti. Diciassette canzoni che non smettono di colpire ascolto dopo ascolto. “Different Shade Of Beauty” si apre con un trittico che toglie il respiro: su “Shattered Fairytale” la voce delicata di Jennifer Manganiello annuncia la fine delle illusioni mentre le chitarre di Doug White tessono le prime trame di una tela che si preannuncia più intricata di quanto fosse lecito aspettarsi; “Holding On” si apre subito con una melodia irresistibile prima di far esplodere il suono dietro un ritornello altrettanto accattivante; ma è sulle note di “Nothing's Wrong” che si ha la definitiva impressione di trovarsi di fronte ad un disco destinato a diventare un classico nel genere: lacrime di chitarra scorrono su un ritmo sostenuto dal basso di Joe Villella e dalla batteria di John Stephanski mentre Jennifer intona parole scurissime (“Leave me alone in my dark dreams/ Where I can feel some peace”) prima che alla boa del terzo minuto un cambio di atmosfera segni il passo per un finale stratosferico. La sorpresa arriva a metà scaletta: i Tearwave rileggono il classico dei Church “Under The Milky Way” lasciando inalterata la forza della melodia scritta da Steven Kilbey ma immergendo la canzone in un'atmosfera ancora più romantica. - ROBERTO MANDOLINI
Tearwave had produced a debut album that pointed to greater things for subsequent albums from this NY band. Immersed in the shoegaze music style of the ‘90s, which yielded a small handful of memorable bands, Tearwave took the best of Love Spirals Downward and other such bands and merged them with the dark, desolate ambient sounds of Lycia, whose music chilled the soul with their own brand of despair. Tearwave formed a hybrid of those and their debut self-titled album was the extraordinary result.
On their second album, Different Shade of Beauty, Tearwave conjures 17 tracks of frozen ambient music with lyrics of despair and heartbreak, all convincingly voiced by the achingly beautiful vocals of Jennifer Manganiello. But Different Shade of Beauty requires that you fall within its spell for maximum effect. The music and the vocals are nearly one but that contributes to its ghostly sound. It is as if you’re hearing sad voices in the blowing winter winds of dusk. And indeed you are.
On “Holding On,” the combination of the icy walls of music created by Doug White’s amazing Cocteau Twins-like guitars, along with Jennifer’s wraithlike voice, the song elicits a sad emotional retreat. The finalities of “Nothing Wrong” are magnificently expressed. “Under the Milky Way” is one of the album’s best tracks in its simplicity. It is a cover from The Church off their Starfish (1988) album. You can sense the slight shift from Tearwave’s originals but it does provide another side of the band, one that can be explored at a later date. Doug White’s guitars do wonders on all of the tracks, effectively producing atmosphere for Manganiello’s voice, while the rhythm section of Joe Villella (Bass) and John Stephanski (Drums, Percussion) paint the finishing strokes.
To crawl into the heartbroken soul of a one who has lost their trust in humanity and life is not something that is often attempted, much less successful. Yet, that is just what Tearwave accomplishes with Different Shade of Beauty. As in their first, Tearwave explores the inner heart with piercingly emotional lyrics and a wall of shimmering music yet accomplishing much more. There is a cold and understanding purity of emotion within these songs that mourns the vast wastelands of loneliness and misunderstanding.
With Different Shade of Beauty, classic just got a whole lot closer. Rating: 4/5
Le sensazioni provenienti dal passato spesso sono quelle che colpiscono più nel profondo. In particolare, infatuazioni di quel suono definito dream-pop sono ricercabili un po’ ovunque e numerosi fan di vecchio stampo, e anche nuovi discepoli dell’era oro della 4AD, sono ancora pronti ad accogliere con grande entusiasmo nuovi saggi di quel suono ancestrale.
Il perché di un tale successo ininterrotto dopo quasi 20 anni è un dato interessante, che comprova anche la validità di certe operazioni di "recupero". Molto si deve a quella scuola americana che ha continuato a coltivare il genere nella sua accezione originaria, quella coniata nei primi anni Ottanta dai Cocteau Twins: una scuola a sua volta maturata sotto l'ala protettiva di Sam Rosenthal e della sua Projekt Records, in una linea che negli anni si è mossa attraverso le gesta di gruppi straordinari come Lycia, Mira, Love Spirals Downwards.
I Tearwave sono una band relativamente di primo pelo. Superato il traguardo della prima fatidica prova, giungono oggi al secondo esame, a poco più di un anno dal debutto, che aveva sorpreso e spaccato in due la platea. Le loro melodie, costruite su un procedere flemmatico, colmo di pathos etereo, non erano certo facili da digerire per quanti non sono mai stati avvezzi a certe sonorità. Per questi ultimi non andrà certo meglio con il qui presente "Different Shade Of Beauty". Un'ossessiva verve creativa ha spinto la band a una mastodontica prova di forza: 17 tracce, 77 minuti di ballate languide e eteree, specialità nella quale i Tearwave si dimostrano maestri, riuscendo nell'arduo compito di far tornare vivo e pulsante il sound degli albori del dream-pop, senza contaminarlo con null'altro. Non con l'elettronica di qualsiasi tipo, né con strutture più pop-rock come appena prima di loro hanno fatto i compagni di etichetta Autumn's Grey Solace.
Il sound del quartetto di Buffalo, New York, è denso, oscuro e di non facile accesso, malgrado la delicatezza della scrittura. Gran parte del merito è dell'illuminato chitarrista Doug Smith, capace di accendere fiamme di geniale creatività all'interno di canzoni che si susseguono all'apparenza senza grandi variazioni.
Troppo lungo e ripetitivo, si dirà: eppure sono proprio la durata kolossal e l'omogeneità di fondo che permettono a questo album di espandersi oltre i suoi stessi limiti, raggiungendo un effetto ipnotico d'insieme difficilmente riscontrabile in altre produzioni dello stesso genere, più o meno recenti. Le invenzioni di Doug Smith consentono poi a ogni singolo traccia di imprimersi nella memoria: basti ascoltare ciò che il chitarrista riesce a creare nel crescendo finale di un brano straordinario come "Holding On", qualcosa per cui lo stesso Robin Guthrie dovrebbe rendere onore al suo giovane discepolo, o ancora gli imprevedibili ruggiti che disturbano la magnifica "Question". E leggiadri e fragili, i suoi compagni ne assecondano ogni idea, pur restando avvinghiati a un costante mood rilassato, arcano e psichedelico. Sezione ritmica modesta e mai invadente, mentre la vocalist Jennifer sussurra incantata testi tutt'altro che rassicuranti. "The Message" e "Claiming Life" sono contese tra bellezza e disperazione, campi di battaglia dove l'unico punto fermo resta la straziante intensità di musica e parole. E urlano di angoscia le chitarre di "Reflection" e "First Time".
A suo agio nei panni gotici, specie nel perduto addio di "Read Me", Doug Smith è però anche capace di tramutarsi in un novello The Edge nel bel mezzo della vibrante "Nothing's Wrong", portando un brano che inizia come un sogno irrealizzato degli Slowdive di "Souvlaki" verso una epicità commovente, e assai più terrena e energica rispetto al tono generale di un album che sempre più si abbandona estatico alle sue inquiete visioni e invocazioni, con picco di astrazione nei suoni in cascata di "Forgettable Name".
Fluviale e appassionato compendio di un genere di musica trasversale di cui la giovane band sa esaltare le più affascinanti e visionarie potenzialità. Soprattutto questo è il merito di questo album ambizioso, e proprio per questo i Tearwave non hanno il benché minimo bisogno di cercare strade nuove e originali. Nel suo lungo cammino "Different Shade Of Beauty" si fa strada senza fretta, ma con forza straripante, imponendosi come un autentico monumento alla storia del dream-pop. E della storia del dream-pop. Rating: 8/10
One year after their debut-cd the American wave-pop formation of Tearwave is back with a real great piece of music featuring 17 songs. It's all subjective, but I think this is the best release on Projekt for quite a long time now. The sound isn't really that special and less innovative, but it's simply well done. The guitar parts are nothing less than genius! Guitarist Doug White is for sure the musical force behind this project. This guy plays the guitar in the purest wave tradition, but when making some comparisons with bands like Cocteau Twins and Lush you'll immediately understand that there's an huge talent inside this project. Add to this the melancholic and captivating vocals of Jennifer Manganiello and you'll soon realize the potential from Tearwave. Don't expect here a kind of soporific pop-wave style, but get ready to embrace a dreamy productions full of emotions and some psychedelic aspects. This band seems to have found an interesting path leading the listener on a highway between 80s and post-millennium wave music. Tearwave surprises with 2 remarkable debut songs entitled "Shattered Fairytale" and "Holding On" and than confirms with the amazing "Reflection". They next hold on this trend with some more remarkable songs like "The Message" and "Falling From Grace". Then comes a less inspired part, but all the genius of the band comes back to live on "Comfort In Angels' Wings". This album is a pretty good investment for all lovers of significant wave music… because we're possibly facing a next new sensation here! Rating: 8 ED