Beyond the impressive fact that this is their eighth EP in the last sixteen months, Los Angeles shoegaze scientists, The Loud Bangs, continue to push the envelope on their latest five song selection, “Why Things Fray.” At this point, it begs the question of whether we should be surprised by what this collective is able to create? Obviously, we should not be shocked by the depths of experimentation they are willing to conduct in the name of artistry.
For an opener, “Analog Test” greets you with a familiar dreamy, underwater filter, but is suddenly accompanied by a heavy, grinding reverb. Altogether, it coalesces into this dense, psych-ish compound that is intensely soothing. After this two minute teaser, the next track, “The Penelope Cannon” doubles the previous formula with the addition of a marching drum beat. Altogether, it gradually turns more uniform as the melody moves in lockstep. In addition, it hints at more experimental, psych-inspired notes before it all fades away, save for a wavering riff and a solitary kick drum in the end.
Of all the tracks, “Circus Mirror” is where it’s at for peak shoegaze-psych haziness. Anchored by a plodding style of bass, it starts out in a slightly meditative way, but the emergence of some high strung riffs gives it the trippy accent it deserves. In addition to the plucky melody, ethereally filtered vocals, provided by vocalist Alice Street, have their moment as murky murmurs echoing through the void.
For a change of pace, “Unpleasantly Tense” surprises with an acoustic laden track that finds a way to open the doorway to an otherworldly side with sharp, looping string effects. While it still adds in some after effects in production, these chords are not overshadowed in the least. In addition, the finale, “Ex Doll,” is another melodic departure, starting with organ-like keyboard effects and a sublime reverb loop. It is a calming closer that relies more on your own wits for the sensory experience than a major confluence of competing sounds.
On “Why Things Fray,” The Loud Bangs prove, once again, that limits are a mere suggestion. Through their style of dreamy shoegaze, the band has a high ceiling to work within. In the end, The Loud Bangs continue to invent new ways to push those boundaries further away.
Written by Travis Boyer
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