Aftergloam // Anatomy of an Elegy
Recommended Track: I Bet You
Alas, Aftergloam waste their greatest asset on Anatomy of an Elegy by turning the guitars up and turning the drums right down, when it’s Tianna Nicole’s energetic and melodic pounding that sets the band apart in a scene full of angsty shoegaze bands playing music exactly like this.
The songwriting is solid enough, and if you like the Smashing Pumpkins and repetition and songs about rejection, you’ll definitely enjoy Anatomy of an Elegy. It’s just that after a few listens the tape becomes a bit monotonous, as is typical for the genre. Yes it’s all very pretty, from the comparatively hard-edged “I’ll Bet” to shimmery closer “Back Into the Void”, but hardly distinctive except for when the band drops the odd guitar solo into the mix. The recording is crystal clear, as one can usually expect from a Lolipop release, but it doesn’t really matter when the most interesting part of the arrangement is buried beneath bummer lyrics about not fitting in.
It’s a shame because, when seeing Aftergloam live, one really perceives how Tianna adds much needed tension to the band’s dreamy songs. The latest incarnation of shoegaze is often marked by very spare, cymbal-less drumming with lots of room between the beats, Jesus and Mary Chain style. Not here; Tianna’s always subtly taking up space, propelling the songs into more far out directions than most are prepared to go. It’s refreshing to see a drummer really pushing the boundaries, unafraid of bringing both technical skill and a strong point of view to the rhythm section. It injects a sense of action into a notoriously lazy style of guitar rock. What a pity, then, that Aftergloam’s more adventurous qualities didn’t make it to tape.