22 Oct 2021 - Daniel F.
Shoegaze | Release date: 22 Oct 2021
It’s quite incredible, the effect that music can have on us. It can be all encompassing, swallow us with profound depth and leave lasting scars rooted in our emotions. Slow Crush embody this, existing as a swathe of noise intended to wash over us, so potent that there is risk of drowning. The shoegaze extraordinaires are back with their follow up to 2018’s critically acclaimed Aurora by means of the cathartic Hush which is set to be unleashed. Cut from the same cloth yet with a more artisanal touch, it builds upon the band’s foundations and offers a tumultuous expression of emotive soundscapes and a deft, lethargic touch.
Opener ”Drown” is little more than an introduction, yet sets the album’s tone with a sound that feels like a swelling tide washing over gravel and silt. Shoegaze meets post rock in a distorted ambiance, and vocals hum in the distance - somewhat held down by burgeoning noise. Once we reach ”Blue” Isa Holliday’s vocals are pulled somewhere just beneath the surface, fighting for breath in a whirlpool of choking catharsis. Her voice oozes a strange sadness, almost fondly recounting her story yet laced with an inherent sorrow.
”Swoon” sees us dragged even further from the light. We cascade into Slow Crush’s dense world, likewise in the aptly named “Gloom” where we succumb to a stranglehold of ethereal melody. The pace rarely quickens, we are lost in spacious atmosphere that generally lends much more to post rock, yet distorted guitars incite Slowdive-esq riffs and towering walls of reverb that feel powerful when thickly applied in ”Swivel” and the title track ”Hush”. It’s a reminder that Slow Crush embody both methodologies well, knowing when to turn up the dial and when to sink back into a blissful stance.
Perhaps ”Lull” epitomises this more than any other. Standing as my personal favourite track it is the perfect advert for all that the Belgians do well, blissful yet loud and heavy in weight. This is the kind of album that grows with each listen. Details emerge that may have previously been overlooked, and ultimately as it concludes with ”Bent and Broken” we realise that it provides a ponderous experience that offers fervent spirit.
It’s easy to forget that Hush is still only the band’s second album, such is the confidence that they carry themselves with. It is a record executed with aplomb, finely crafted and laden with ideas. It is a pleasure to watch them expand and concoct another potent escape from reality. With Aurora Slow Crush sparked into life, this time round they have learned to dance in the flames.