Not being much of a follower of fashion, I can only conclude that shoes must be getting more interesting by the day. That’s the impression I get from hearing Film School’s latest offering, as they seem intent on producing whole chunks of music that practically insist you gaze longingly at your footwear.
As per usual there is very little here that you won’t find being done better on My Bloody Valentine‘s Loveless album. The problem with Film School is that they aren’t really doing very much to take the genre off in a new direction.
It’s not as if there isn’t life in Shoegazing, after all Asobi Seksu took the genre in new and exciting directions earlier in the year with the phenomenal Citrus. We know it can be done.
The problem with Hideout is that everything sounds as if it is being done to a script. Open chords are everywhere, and fuzzed up Kevin Shields style guitars wash over the songs as you would expect. Then there are the vocals that have that mournful quality to them, much like a dog chained up outside a butchers shop with a muzzle on, only far more steeped in reverb.
The majority of the lyrics deal with relationships or the lack of them; but as the band attempt to paint the ceiling of their own particular sonic cathedral, so the impact of anything that might be being said is lessened. Hideout doesn’t sound like an organic record borne of a band that just let the music come naturally, it is almost Shoegaze by numbers.
The lack of inventiveness means that there is no real standout song here, a fact that is not helped by the album’s lack of depth. There is hardly a change of pace to be found anywhere, which means that many of the songs run into each other without imposing themselves individually. As a result the album becomes a kind of amorphous blob with no point of focus. If you can’t make a song named Sick Hipster Nursed By Suicide Girl sound as exciting as its title then you really are in trouble.
Only Florida and Plots And Plans make any kind of lasting impression. The former takes a wild stab at Joy Division‘s cold indifference and at least manages to bloody the blade slightly. It suggests that Film School can at least pull off a decent assimilation of post-punk when required.
Plots and Plans meanwhile manages to take Berlin era Bowie and make it sound like it’s being pumped into the most depressing airport lounge you’ve ever been in. It does however hint at a little more ingenuity in the band as different textures are introduced and taken away with expert timing.
It is a shame that there are so few moments like Plots And Plans hidden away on the album, because Film School do sound like an impressive band when they let the songs breathe. As a shoegazing emulator, they just don’t cut it.