Crossing the genres of shoegaze, bubblegum rock and psychedelia is a tricky concoction but its one that Misty Coast take on with gusto for their debut album.
Opener “Funny World” takes each of these elements and builds up a start/stop track of guitars processed through disco phasers, treble heavy percussion that glistens and smashes like glass and lots of noise of all the synths and funky bass notes. Vocally, things remind me of many female dirty rockers that have that “I’m from the streets and will kick your arse” intonation. What’s more interesting is that the vocals don’t seem to placed in the centre of Misty Coast’s sound palette often. Take “Strange Girl”. The bass line has such a buzzsaw noise to it, its cuts through the raucous guitars, and so the vocals almost become the keyboards, particularly in the choruses. It’s like the voice is the soother to the anarchy of the instrumentation.
The album essentially plays around with variations of this theme. “Trash Talk Smile” is more traditional rock-based and melodic, but over very quickly. “Leap Year” lets the band dip into its Sub-Pop/4AD side with a lush rubbery guitar production that suits everything. “Asteroid” showcases the happy understated euphoria that can be found in shoegaze-like rock, whereas “Dinosaur” is more straightforward with its hooks and melodies. “Heavy Head of a Body” plays with the echo on all the instruments and closes out the album in a dreamlike fashion.
More interestingly, the ballads on the album are where things really work for me. “Take Off/ Mess Up” is a fantastically detuned guitar noise, keyboard sample and vocal piece that is about pushing a really uneasy ambience full down your throat. It’s unlike anything else on the album but as a concept also utterly stands out. “Sleepy Youth” cuts some of the noise away from the atmosphere and leaves the melodies and voice at the centre for an excellently awkward track. “Iron Trees” is also a quiet moment of reflection to enjoy too.
It’s so unusual for me to connect better with all the ballad mood pieces on a rock bands album rather than the actual rock. I think it’s because there’s so much disarray to the tracks that give them their make up, I’m not quite sure what I’m meant to feel. However, when you peel it back and focus on the darker, more bleaker moods, Misty Coast show that they have something to say and so in the future, I hope they focus on cultivating melodies to compliment the atmosphere – and not just rely on atmosphere alone.
Recommended track : “Sleepy Youth”