Russian shoegaze group with impressive second offering...
'Grandfeathered'

When Pinkshinyultrablast emerged from Russia a little over a year ago, they were desperate to leave the stifling indie scene of their native St. Petersburg behind, a feat achieved thanks to the strength of their debut LP 'Everything Else Matters'. Now an international band in their own right, Pinkshinyultrablast are relishing in the relative freedom that brings with it, approaching their second record from a somewhat more experimental standpoint.

Where 'Everything Else Matters' was icy, ephemeral and otherworldly, punctuated by occasional moments of blistering noise, 'Grandfeathered' is blistering noise punctuated by occasional moments of delicate clarity. Almost as if the St. Petersburg scene they so badly wanted out of had quite literally restricted the debut it was responsible for, 'Grandfeathered' feels like the sound of the band spreading their wings as much as possible, using their previous material only as a jumping-off point.

Of course, with a sound as idiosyncratic as Pinkshiny...'s there's only so far you can deviate from the source material before alienating established fans, but here they walk the fine line between familiarity and freshness as easily as the line between melody and discord. 'Glow Vastly' for instance, the first track proper, sees button-bright synths layered over a tumultuous rhythm section; not so much coaxing listeners in to the record as dragging them kicking and screaming. Conversely, this barrage of noise comes immediately after 'Initial', an intro song of sorts which, despite the fuzz-heavy production, is as a delicate a cut as anything from 'Everything Else Matters'.

Arguably the most accessible track on offer is recent single 'Kiddy Pool Dreams', a thunderous alt-pop anthem that reigns in the record's abrasiveness in favour of chilly electronics and lavish reverb, while next track 'Comet Marbles' follows a similar dynamic structure; pockets of eviscerating noise shattering the glassy veneer at regular intervals.

This dichotomy of dynamics is at the very centre of 'Grandfeathered', back-boning the album in its entirety. Only does the eponymous final track offer anything in the way of respite, and even then the imposing, glacial walls of noise only relent enough to release the soaring melody, before slamming back in to place once more.

Though not leaving behind its predecessor completely, 'Grandfeathered' is a record that cements Pinkshinyultrablast as more than the gimmick their detractors assumed them to be. Brash and bold, its juxtaposition of fragile synth lines and uncompromising slabs of aggression make for a compelling, if not occasionally familiar, listen.

7/10

Words: Dave Beech

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