Prior to this past year, I had not listened to much shoegaze music. On the surface, it is a sub-genre that is hard to nail down. Primarily, the melodic cloaking of its vocals or the repetition of indiscernible phrases adds to the enigma. As it turns out, being shrouded in the soundscape is what sets shoegaze apart from the mainstream. Defying convention, The Loud Bangs bring together the mysticism of dream pop with their own distinctly subliminal vocal exhibition on their latest EP, “Salvation Memorial Hospital.”
The Los Angeles-based band recognizes that they stick out as “odd ducks” among their own crowd, but aspire to “grow into swans.” However, as proven by their sixth EP of 2022, birds of a feather not only fly together, their self-proclaimed quirkiness becomes their own distinct plumage. As to be expected of a genre that thrives on being offbeat, The Loud Bangs delivers a set of songs that seek to uphold their identity as outsiders, but establishes their own path in the process.
As a whole, this EP follows the concept that each song is its own mood. Not beholden to keeping a lyrical narrative, each song exists in its own soundscape. For starters, “Spectral Field” creates a mildly psychedelic, wavy rhythm that begins as a sonic blur before blending together two opposing forces into an intense concoction of sound. After meeting in the middle, the intensity of these colliding noises subsides, leaving behind a subtle hum in its wake.
There are two instances of ultra dreamy, even trancey entries on this EP. “Candy Sometimes Always” feels like straightforward dream pop, but mixes in some alt-rock vibes for good measure. It wants to collapse all around you with accents of shimmering splendor brought on by a simple jangle of a tambourine. Also, “Future Bruises” takes an even more dreamy and trancey turn through its effective use of drum loops. Gradually picking up in intensity, these drums briskly march in pace before the conclusion is met with a subtle bit of interference before silence falls.
If you want your music to carry its own vibe, “Salvation Memorial Hospital” would fit the bill nicely. The Loud Bangs may think that they are stepping outside of the norm in how they carry themselves as musicians. However, art is not confined to what you or I think it should look or sound like. It’s whatever the artist feels they want to express. For that, The Loud Bangs belong in the club along with everyone else who dares to create.
Written by Travis Boyer
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