A lot of people are going try to lump Serena Maneesh's self-titled debut album into the long-dead shoegazer scene.
And on first listen, a lot of the tracks do share elements with shoegazing royalty My Bloody Valentine. Distorted walls of guitars? Check. Muffled vocals? Check. Atmospheric background? Check.
But the Norwegian band's debut album also brings glam, punk and new wave influences that push it beyond shoegazing. The sound isn't surprising when you consider the band's leader is former Silver mastermind Emil Nikolaisen, who has also dabbled in metal and pop music.
This album isn't the most accessible album released this year, but given a couple of listens it is one of the most rewarding. Throughout the album and in most songs, there is a struggle between light and dark, happy tones are shoved under punishing bass lines and walls of distortion. This is best represented on the album's 12-minute closing track, ""Your Blood in Mine." The song slowly build into cacophony of sinister noise only to drop it all at the 9:30 mark for a uplifting, if haunting, piano solo.
Not every song is as complex, or draining as "Your Blood in Mine" though. The opener, and single, ""Drain Cosmetics," sounds like The Killers, My Bloody Valentine and The Jesus & Mary Chain blended together, kind of a shoegazing version of The Stills.