(Team Love Records)
I wish I had a garage so I could invite Conduits to come live in it. Yeah, I don’t doubt that everyone who has put pen to paper on this Omaha sextet, has mentioned the word shoegaze—which may be the sonic waters Conduits dip their feet into—but the soul of this band swims in the garage. The eponymous LP is an album full of songs brimming with the energy and experimentation that comes from the joy of creating and discovering sound. From one song to the next, the album comes across as a matter of course rather than design. This isn’t to say that, like a lot of shoegaze, the songs sound like a murky stew of effects pedals and feedback that may or may not contain a melody hidden somewhere. No, while you can hear the influence of bands like Spiritualized, Slowdive, and My Bloody Valentine, none of them ever had hooks this good, or vocals this affecting. With the dynamic, haunting vocals of Jenna Morrison, a sharp, pulsating rhythm section, and reverb drenched, riff-driven guitars that manage to lead the band while somehow sewing in, out, and around the melody, you have a band that knows themselves and knows how to write their music, their way.
The tone of this self-titled LP is a moody one that strikes a satisfying balance between dark and transcendent. The most successful tracks on the record, “Fish Mountain,” “On the Day, and “Last Dirge” are songs that achieve this balance in and of themselves. Conduits play with dynamics and the genre token, wall of sound, in interesting, surprising ways, but sparingly so. None of these songs overtax the patience or milk a powerful phrase; Conduits know when to stop and when to take the listener somewhere else. There really isn’t a bad track on the album, and stand-out track, “Misery Train,” is sure to get a lot of deserved attention with it’s bleak organ/synth loop, dreamy guitar textures, and devastating bass line that knows just when to come in and bounce with the drums.
In their bio Conduits tell us to stop staring at our feet and enjoy the spectacle, and you would do well to obey; this is a hypnotic band that isn’t afraid to hold your gaze.
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