New York based Infinity Girl’s latest effort, Harm, bursts into life with an indelible racket; Hesse kicks off proceedings with a dreamlike whirring before erupting into a frenetic lo-fi whirlwind, squealing guitar licks ricocheting above a tight garage beat.
It’s the energy of this album that is most apparent, as they drift through the shoegaze fuzz most often reserved to the introspective. That introspection may be at place here, but as the cyclical stabs of synth and warbling distortion in both Firehead and Locklaun show, that doesn’t mean you can’t be upbeat about it.
There is an instant familiarity throughout this record, like you’ve half tuned the Beach Boys in on an old radio. The swathes of feedback fail to disguise the obvious ear for a pop hook buried within the noise. Not Man’s twinkling synth and guitar rallies create a dreamlike atmosphere, which is quickly slapped away with the stomping of a menacing bassline that wouldn’t sound out of place advertising that new car you’d like. Curse or blessing, the feedback reigns it in, providing a suffocating and temporary struggle that intrigues in its depth.
Particularly obvious as the album progresses, however, is the distinct lack of permanence that an album full of multi-textured fuzz can have. The shackles of shoegaze can leave you dazed; with songs dropping out of focus in the blurring of vocals and instrumental accompaniment. An invigorating new take at a time-worn style, but one that leaves you with the impression that it’s all just a bit too temporary.
Those shackles remain in at times throughout the album, but it’s when they’re cast aside that this band begins to shine. On Dirty Sun, there’s a reckless abandon in which listless guitar riffs and a rabid tempo combine with aplomb, creating an enticing walk through a lo-fi scene, bathed in sand and sun.
As they straddle the line between thoughtful shoegaze and scuzzy lo-fi punk, Infinity Girl create a stimulating sound that’s both familiar and new, though on ‘Harm’ it appears that they too often fall to either side. An enjoyable fuzz-rock pomp, no doubt, but it’s that marriage of sounds that scarcely appears that really excites. Though, with this band’s ear for a hook, I’ll have to listen a few times more to be sure.
Harm is available via Topshelf Records on August 28th.
By Lennon Craig