Dream-pop, noise-pop, shoegaze, spectorgaze; subgenres that have recently taken a new life, thanks in part to the internet allowing decades of albums and artists to be accessed universally, as well as linking fans from the world over instantaneously. Years after the disbanding of Spaceman 3 and the Cocteau Twins, the resurgence of bands filling hook-laden rhythms with layers of noisy guitars seems to produce a new act every week. Admittedly, when every band’s apple is falling from the same tree, it gets hard to decipher your Dum Dum Girls from your Tame Impalas from your Best Coasts. Sometimes, earning a genre tag can be more of a curse than a gift.
As the fuzzed-out guitars overlay the marching drums of opener ‘That Boy’, Obedient Wives Club ensure to the listener that their self-proclaimed placement in the “spectorgaze” genre is well-deserved. At time, this label works against them. Being inventive when your influences are so clearly displayed on the table is a difficult, near-impossible task. Moreso when you share your influences with such a large amount of working musicians.
But where Obedient Wives Club succeeds on this record, their eponymous debut EP, is that they never overstay their welcome. They even go as far as ending both ‘That Boy’ and ‘Look At Us’ swiftly, neither breaking the three minute mark. ‘Fragments’ – the longest of the four tracks – take you on a sonic journey, allowing itself enough time to slowly build towards a chanting refrain. They know how to work with their sound and how to draw the listener in without tiring them, a perfect balance that compliments their fuzz-out yet beautifully-etched sound.
While Obedient Wives Club’s droned lyrics speak of life in that mellow-yet-uplifting way only those deep within noise pop’s grasps can, it doesn’t feel like a contrived exercise, like much of the genre often does. This is a young band that, while freely displaying their influences, understands that it takes more than mere regurgitation to stand out in a world of saturation. In the end, they produce a beautiful debut that showcases the best of what they know, and promises a world of possibilities as they develop in the future.