SLOW CRUSH – ” Aurora “

Posted: March 30, 2021 in Classic Albums, MUSIC
Tags: , ,
Slow Crush - Aurora

As with anywhere in the world during these post-pandemic times, there are both positive and negative aspects to residing in Belgium right now. In Flanders, there is a rise in far-right extremism, rooted in the N-VA party and the Ons Land movement, which want Flemish independence from the homeland and an end to remaining lockdown curfews. But in more grounded Leuven, national virologist Marc Van Ranst has stressed science over skepticism in his regular TV broadcasts over the past year, calmly reassuring the populace that such low-contact isolation can truly save your life. And current Prime Minister Alexander De Croo is on the same cautious page, as he just curtailed Belgium’s scheduled Outdoor Plan for April, as the government worries that even schoolchildren can contract the mutating European virus and, sans symptoms, infect their unsuspecting families. Naturally, there’s a huge left/right uproar about the safety-conscious decision.

Following on from ‘Ease’, their shimmering debut EP, ‘Aurora’ is the coming of their first full-length and with it brings the ideal combination of Shoegaze’s most ethereal sounds and distorted haze. Isa Holliday’s vocals are instantaneously captivating as if from a dream-state; guitars weigh heavy in the atmosphere whilst drum passages vary the pace. This is a band confident in their undeniably unique brand of Shoegaze and Grunge.

The gloomy abrasion is both comforting and melancholic; something that many acts reviving this style have so often missed. Density in the instrumentation and swirling riffs means there is something here for everyone, and so take shelter in the violet murk of Aurora and witness one of the most promising new bands in Shoegaze.

“It’s one of the best shoegaze albums I’ve heard in a good long time.

Isa Holliday is glad she lives in Leuven. British born, she moved there as a kid when her chemical-engineer father was posted there for his job in water treatment. The family loved the place so much, they stayed, she recalls. And it’s where she first took up bass guitar and started playing in sludge-metal outfits like Hearserider, which eventually morphed into the conversely-ethereal new dream-pop combo Slow Crush, in which she also handles vocal duties. The band’s murky, 4AD-textured debut disc from 2018, “Aurora”, formerly out of print, has just been given a triumphant new re-release on Quiet Panic Stateside and Church Road Records in the UK and EU, and from its dense opener “Glow” to the frothy “Drift,” a thundering “Beach,” and the layered coda “Pale Skin,” it’s a perfect blend of cathedral-ringing guitars buttressing Holliday’s pneumatic, almost aqueous singing voice, which is only clearly discernible on the sole ballad, “Collide.” Dark, velvety music for even darker death-shrouded times, all conceived in Leuven’s center of sanity.

There’s one more upside to life in Leuven, she adds, cheerfully. “It’s the city where Stella Artois is brewed, and the brewery is actually only a few kilometers away from my house—I’m in the city of Stella!,” she says.

Originally released late June 2018 (from the album ‘Aurora’).

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