KESTRELS play Rancho Relaxo on Friday (July 20). See listing. Rating: NNNN
With interest in 90s shoegaze only getting stronger, the Kestrels' sonic assault of a sophomore album arrives right on time.The Halifax trio perfect dialed-to-11 volume, churning guitar drone and feedback, and unpolished vocals - a mix that draws heavily from Creation Records bands like My Bloody Valentine and Slowdive.
But it's not all pummelling drums and tsunamis of ringing guitars obscuring the sometimes off-key singing. The sounds take shape around guitarist/vocalist Chad Peck's melodic and structured songwriting, inspired in part by a summer living on New York's Lower East Side. During that excursion, Peck also secured a cameo by one of his musical heroes, Ash's Tim Wheeler, who lends exuberant guitar leads to standout track Dumb Angel.
That the young trio recorded A Ghost History themselves is another reason to admire them. Despite a few meandering tunes, the album sounds colossal and visceral. Apparently, closer The Past Rests, another standout, was tracked 23 times before they were satisfied.
Top track: Dumb Angel