Man, shoegaze has got it rough nowadays. Since we haven’t reached the point where a revival in that sorta stuff is appropriate yet, anything labelled as “shoegazey” or “dreamy” tends to get ignored or smacked down the same way boring “indie” rock is. Yet Foster The People don’t get a Tumblr devoted to how shitty they are. I’m sure there is plenty of lame, boring shoegaze clogging up someone’s Spotify account, but I’m sure that person’s also got a few gems.
In Japan, the problem sometimes feels reversed…there is so much shoegaze music, it all sorts to bleed together. Flot Down The Liffey, though, stick out because they want to choke you a bit as you stare at your kicks. This group released a four-song EP called Breath earlier this year, and though they proclaim themselves shoegazers and play on bills surrounded by similar sounding groups, they aren’t your typical bunch of stoned kids staring at blades of grass. The intro track “Landscape” a bit of a red herring, all lolly-gagging swooshes and Michigan-era Sufjan bells. Then “Vista” swoops in and grabs you by the throat.
Float Down The Liffey’s guitars are a tad too aggressive to daze off to, and on “Vista” they smack hard, making one of the other tags the band has given themselves (“metal”) seem close. The verses are delivered in a relatively relaxed way, but then those guitars surge back up to add menace. It gets even better on “He Stabs For Her Sharp Majority,” which tries its darndest to be an At The Drive-In rocker, albeit at a slightly slower tempo. Closer “Lose The Breath” edges back towards what most people think of when they think shoegaze, but Float Down keep a churning menace in the background just to be safe. Whether shunned away by not being in style or just lost in the crowd, this EP reminds that one shouldn’t judge anything by its cover and/or Bandcamp tag. Listen here.