What does it sound like?:
A beautifully packaged 5 disc set of around 90 different bands: somebody clearly believes Shoegaze was a genre which deserves rescue from years of cruel oversight since its hey-day in the late 80s/early 90s.
Is it worth revisiting? If you like your Britpop or your Madchester then there’s a lot in these discs for you. But not for me: I had the notion that Shoegaze was meant to have a different aesthetic – I’m thinking of Cocteaus, JAMC and MBV – but strangely most of this compilation disappoints by simply not being Shoegazey enough to my ears.
However, if you cherry pick, you can get about one disc’s worth of glorious noise, and it really is worth the effort – gorgeous, dreamy, hazy, echoing and half-audible. It’s music which was only meant to be heard by a single listener – you – not a crowd, a radio audience or a consumer market.
I can actually forgive the four discs’ amount of material which I have no interest in, because the remaining disc’s worth is superb, and brand new to my ears: that’s not an experience I’m used to these days.
What does it all *mean*?
I’ve extracted the 15 best tracks for my own playlist and I haven’t a bloody clue who any of the bands are – Alison’s Halo, Bark Psychosis, Bethany Curve, Flying Saucer Attack, Loveliescrushing, Secret Shine … are these real? or names invented by Chris Morris? The fantastic sound is everything, of course, and I think I prefer the obscurity.
Goes well with…
Might suit people who like…
My Bloody Valentine’s Loveless, mid-period Cocteau Twins instrumentation, … and I suppose Britpop and Madchester (although, as I said, I’m really not sure why so much of this material has been put under the Shoegaze heading – that Happy Mondays rhythm has got a lot to answer for).