Listening - Sunday, Jan 12th 2020

Grace Cathedral Park

I finally picked up the companion album to that incredibly sleepy Grace Cathedral Park EP. This was a bandcamp find -- I don't know anything at all about this group except that I really enjoyed their EP. The album expands on it nicely, although I could see this structured as a small collection of EPs instead of a full-length.

The sleepy shoegaze vibe works best packaged in an overall concise way -- like the Cocteau Twin's immortal Victorialand album, which is what the Grace Cathedral Park project makes me think of the most. Victorialand clocks in somewhere around 30 minutes, broken into two sides if you're listening to it the way it was originally released. It feels like a much longer journey in that time though. Just the right balance of sleepy meditative riffs and knowing when to bow out.

The album version of Grace Cathedral Park feels maybe slightly long-winded, but it holds up to the quality of the EP I fell in love with last year. (It contains two out of three of the EP's songs, too.) I'm really out of touch with what happened to shoegaze in the 21st century, but Grace Cathedral Park doesn't just sit as a genre piece of empty shoegaze nostalgia -- the songs are solid, catchy and haunting and the production style doesn't rely on recycled tropes but finds a place for these songs to breathe. (While touching obvious idiomatic points along the way -- washed out reverb, a hi-fi studio grunge sound that doesn't quite let itself become too plastic or packaged...)