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Clustersun – “Surfacing to Breathe” Review

Leaving that guitar echo on warble for a beautifully detuned moshfest

Clustersun’s noise rock is like a wonderful cross over of shoegaze from today and psyhe-punk rock from 4AD in the 1980’s. It’s messy, loud, full on and a complete riot.

“Raw Nerve” kicks off their second album how it means to go on with walls of guitar clashing against each other, thumping drums that don’t quite have the bass to push through but keep things going and a vocalist who has a tinge of Marc Almond about him but is he was raised by punk rockers and not Compton Street. However, the seedy side of music both Almond and Clustersun evoke as “Antagonise Me” chugs seedier bass lines, discordant guitar notes and megaphone distorted vocals. It’s the chaos of punk going off to the dark room disco. “Lonely Room” is more of a traditional rock structure with some lovely chord progressions and an echo room that makes the whole track feel sparkly and star-spangled. It’s muddy production works beautifully to create a surreal slow motion rock anthem and its possibly the stand out track on the album.

However, the album does have some big ambitious tracks and “The Whirling Dervish” is an eight minute rock out that descends into a superb sci-fi rock interplay between guitar riifs and lots of keyboard sound effects that channel the title name perfectly. The depressing “Don’t Let the Weight of Your Soul Drag you Down” is so ruined and out of tune on purpose, it reminds me of early Placebo when they do their miserable tracks. It’s near instrumental piece is a real moody arse and great to crash out too. Title track “Surfacing to Breathe” is the other big stand out track for me. It takes Clustersun’s vibe and brings it to its most distilled formula on the album and it’s probably the best entry point to the band. It’s a percussive anthem with lots of effects and wall of sound moments but it’s also catchy. “Emotional Painkiller” feels different to everything else because the guitars are all notably cleaner. It works really well because the track is snappy and quite euphoric in places. The cleaner style also means I can hear the lyrics and that makes me intrigued if the band tone down the shoegazing in the future. Returning to the 80’s 4AD sound, “Event Horizon” leads us out in dramatic style with a huge lighter swayer of a track.

Their Italian influences shine through, as Italian rockers seem to have an affinity for slightly out of key guitars and chord patterns. I really like Clustersun’s sound because it’s equal parts throwback but with its own identity. If you are looking for a new album to enjoy in a shouty drunken haze – this could do you well. I approve!

Recommended Track : Surfacing to Breathe

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