The Voices - The Sound Of Young America

Matt Harrold 22/06/2007

Rating: 4/5

Shoe gaze, that much maligned genre of music which imploded in the mid 90's under its own weight has never really recovered, even with the re-invention with the term 'nu-gaze' by a certain weekly music magazine. Maybe it was the perception that the majority of the bands involved in the scene were self indulgent, middle class kids with way too much time on their hands and not enough common sense to push the envelope of the genre beyond it's mix of droned out rifts and barely audible vocals.

Well it seems that not everyone has been willing to give up the ghost of My Bloody Valentine and Ride. Certainly not Cardiff three piece, The Voices, who with their second album 'The Sound of Young America' manage to draw you back to the hey-days where walls of lushly layered guitar drones are waiting to invade your mind, taking you on the kind of psychedelic trip that would make Kevin Shields himself salivate at the thought of releasing new material.

Now there's two things that should really be warned about 'The Sound of Young America', firstly majority of the tracks aren't exactly on the short side, with the likes of “I'll Be Within You When There's No One Left Inside' clocking in at a mean seven minutes, plus. Secondly if your looking for the kind of musical diversity that's only ever found in a Bjork album then your going to be in short luck. Instead what you're presented with is the kind of lush walls of sound that wouldn't look out of place outside of MBV's 'Loveless'. We're talking about levels or reverb washing in and out that would put early Jesus and the Mary Chain to shame.

But that's where the true joy in 'The Sound of Young America' lays, the urge to put it on, dim the lights and get lost in the likes of the epic '…You Broke A Heart I gave To You' which rains down smacked-out rifts lifted from Spacemen 3's back catalogue. Whilst 'You Shared A Smile' with it's ethereal female vocals and slide guitar over the shimmering rhythm guitar brings to mind a sunset over some half forgotten Californian beach.

Whilst The Voices may not have produced the most original sound in existence, instead they've managed to bring shoe-gaze back into credibility with an album with enough pop hooks to retain a listener's concentration whilst retaining the depth that'll keep you coming back for more.