27 May 2021 - Pat O'
Dream-Pop/Shoegaze | Release date: 07 May 2021
With over a decade in the business Revival Hymns can still forge music that’s majestic and rich in lush, heart-felt atmospherics. Lets have a listen to their beautiful EP Birth Pains
It maybe just me thinking out loud, but there seems to have been a mini revival in the “shoegaze”/”dream pop” scene in recent times, and it’s fair to say that it has been a breath of fresh air. Often rooted in melancholia and sorrowful subtexts, the raw and emotive nature of it can sometimes be misinterpreted and viewed as being sombre, linear and lachrymose, and you know what, maybe it is to an extent. But I’m a firm believer that there’s beauty in darkness. There’s a warmth and an honesty about it, a sincere and heartfelt emotion that always portrays itself well in this style of music, and that is a good thing in my books.
An example of a band that justifies my statement is Revival Hymns from Finland. With close on a decade of playing music under their belts, it shows. Their sound is refined, majestic and beautifully assembled. Their dynamic and atmospheric layers combined with that intimation of sorrow and heartbreak will have you sympathetically hugging yourself!. They have released an EP entitled Birth Pains and it’s beautiful.
The opening track is the brilliantly titled “Praise for the bereft” and starts out with some surprisingly uptempo beats and rich warm guitars. But as soon as the vocals hit, everything changes. That consoling vocal delivery is simply stunning and reminds me so much of Her Name Is Calla’s Tom Elliott. It’s like velvet, and creates a mood that’s a little more subdued and heavy-hearted but nevertheless forms another instrument with its harmonic tone and delivery. The bass guitar throughout the track is prominent and delicious, and plays so well off the piano keys. Then, if that wasn’t enough for you to laze in, some backing vocal baladeers lay one more layer over the already plush musical piece.
More beautiful chords, and synths start out on “We saw it light up the whole sky”, and just like the opening track, those vocals come in and literally embrace you like a long lost friend. The structure and pace here is more “post-rock” inspired and immediately has me thinking and feeling Oh Hiroshima’s “Ellipse”, or any track from In Silence We Yearn actually. The song progresses nicely, and builds with more synths and harmonized vocals, before some fuzzy guitars create rhythm and cadence.
Farewell, Mirage ends the EP with more rich and hazy melodies that shimmer over some careful drum rolls and gentle guitars. It brings this short but hauntingly sweet EP to a close and leaves you maybe wanting a little more. However, it’s an impressive release all the same and is “dream-pop” and “shoegaze” done extremely well.