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Airiel – Kid Games (Shelflife)

15 May 2012

With all due respect to The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart and Ringo Deathstarr and others, the band that signaled the resurgence of shoegaze for me was Airiel. The Battle Of Sealand, the band’s debut full-length re-opened my ears to the vast soundscapes left most unheard for a decade. There were a lot of up-tempo tracks that, god help me, made me want to dance…mostly in the car, in front of perfect strangers. Kid Games, along with being a four song EP, is a return to the form of their four EP set, Winks & Kisses but informed with the advances in sound made on their full length. Principal songwriter, vocalist, guitarist, and only original member Jeremy Wrenn takes us on a brief but wonderful journey. The songs are wall-to-wall pensive beauty. “Funerals,” alternately hushes and soars all over a rich, almost orchestral layer. The music of “Flashlight Tag,” is every bit as playful as the title would suggest. The final song, “Daydreamer”, almost hits it too far on the nose. The style of shoegaze always invokes the feeling of a dream. The track itself, though, is the apex of the EP. It is wistful and busy, the hallmarks of the genre.

It had been a long five years, waiting for any release from Airiel, and this has not been a disappointment. Would a full-length be preferable? Yes, but in this case, quality trumps quantity. Kid Games may not break new ground but it is a pleasure.