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It is never simple to review vast compilation albums such as this sprawling, 30 track comp. On the one hand, there are always tracks that stand out more than others, but on the other, you don’t want bands to feel left out. Let’s go with the highlights for this international collection, curated by Ear to Ear Records (Shauna McLarnon of Ummagma) and Indonesia’s Gerpfast Kolektif. The sounds collected here were extracted from 5 of the 6 continents and represent a wide ranging sonic palette, from Japan’s Ether Feels (sounding a bit like Her Vanished Grace here) to the dreamy psychedelia of USA’s brilliant Slow Motion Picture on “Opening”. These are the ‘second wave’ of shoegaze bands, including Clustersun with their trippy post punk (“Hipgnosis”), or Germany’s Jaguwar with their more straightforward, MBV influenced beautiful noise (“Muffhead”). Trementina raises the roof on “Hazy Youth”, and Russia’s spacy “Sounds of Sputnik” teams up with Ummagma and Swervedriver drummer Graham Bonnar on the fast charging “Overdrive”. Hong Kong’s terrific Thud hit the perfect shoegaze sweet spot with the ethereal “Lime”. And oh, how I dig Italy’s Stella Diana on the gorgeous “Isabeau”. Welsh band “Lights that Change” revel in a hypnotic, Cocteaus-induced trance on “Theme 1 Stage 3”, and The Evening Primrose hold listeners rapt with their blissful “Catcher”. I could go on for days about all these groups, but trust me when I say this album is a sonic feast for shoegaze fans, and an excellent start to what promises to be another great year for this revitalized genre.
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