This year marks its revival after two decades of patiently awaiting follow-ups from the two bands that birthed the genre. My Bloody Valentine finally ceased to tease us with remasters and decided to reveal their long withheld masterpiece mbv (2018). The previous year, Slowdive secretely recorded the self-titled Slowdive (2017) on Canadian label Dead Oceans. Both bands continue to influence musicians in every corner of the states crafting dream alternative rock now coined nu-gaze. Our little corner of the earth yearns for a dosage of ethereal rock.
Luckily for us, the native Laredoan band Owl's Clover is back. After a hiatus they return with an addition of luscious electric violin chords (Jessica Villalon) to their already brilliant line-up consisting of guitar (Johann Salazar), bass (Jacinto de la Cruz) and drums (Zak Salazar). Owl's Clover stylize their brand of dream rock by meshing the ambient sounds of post-rock, icy lyrics and basslines of post-punk, and entrancing distorted guitars of shoegaze. Their music is an astral glissando from one genre to another but remains sonically tethered to its own gravitional core. Each song is naturally sculptured by an amalgam of individual influences, as Jacinto discloses, "it's just due to, every single one of us listens to a bunch of different things, so we all bring in a little bit of the different sounds." When asked what bands they individually want to sound like the violinist mentioned Sigur Ros, Radiohead, Slowdive, Beach House; the guitarist cited Joy Division, My Bloody Valentine, The Radio Department, while the bassist named Interpol, Green Day, and Arctic Monkeys. Zak described himself as a metal-head. Recorded through DIY methods, they self-released an impressive album titled The L.O.F.T in 2016.
The opening track Overture begins with a crisp and glacial musical phrase that drives itself into endless forward motion. The drums pulsate patiently beneath the amplified reverb of echoing guitar single chords as they disperse and diffuse into thin air. The haunting synths slowly expand and quietly retract as if surging momentarily from an abysmal spiral of sound. The subtle bass lines speckle the entire song like shimmery orbs. It is melancholic and pensive instrumental rock. A time lapse for pulse to escalate into a final frenetic 20 second episode of half-consciousness whilst the last phrase disappears into a drone-like hush.
The song Excess invites us to descend into a glitchy trance of circular reverberating chords. The lead singer reassures us in soft-spoken lyrics "We'll fall / yeah, we'll fall" as the distorted guitar leaps into a high-pitched wave then clashes into a profound oceanic wash of swelling sound. Johann reaches stratospheric falsettos, reminescent of Jonsi, that blend with the searing guitars in the chorus of this song and in the next track "Custodian." There is a sustained icy synth chord in "Lighthouse" that pierces through like a beacon of blue luminescence. All throughout, the instruments command oscillating particle waves into beautiful gyres of sound that cascade through time and space.
Owl's Clover performs around local venues in Laredo, but "SecondChance [Music Record Store] gives us the best shows," says J.C. They shared stage with out-of-town bands Big Coat (Austin, TX) and Candace (Portland, OR). We expect more music to be released by this band soon, "Definitely more shoegazy. [The band] finally let me do more shoegaze stuff" Johann reveals of the upcoming E.P.