Review: "Kid Games" - Airiel

Kid Games EP - Airiel
(2012 Shelflife)
  If you blinked you may have missed it, but the neo-shoegaze movement is back. Almost five years after their rather disappointing last release, The Battle of Sealand, Airiel has quietly crafted a new reverb drenched masterpiece that improves on the works of recent dream-pop bands like M83 and The Raveonettes. If you've ever considered yourself a disciple of shoegaze acts such as Slowdive and My Bloody Valentine, this 4-piece band from Chicago will certainly hit the spot.

 From the opening track, "Funerals," it becomes quite obvious that not much has changed in the past few years. It's hard-hitting and noisy, yet hits the listener with a wall of sonic fuzz that layers perfectly with a pounding M83-esque beat. As any Airiel fan knows, the band never shies away from its influences and even leans toward borderline imitation. With this in mind, the influences of Robin Guthrie's masterful, shimmery guitar work are very evident on "You Against the Rest of Us." No output from Airiel has been as airy as "Flashlight Tag", a delightful romp through the musical fields of Joy Division and the Cure. It's one of the best I've seen from this band, and makes me hope for another EP in the near future. "Daydreamer" is a fragile closer that reminds me of the Postal Service a bit.

  Airiel hasn't become rusty over their recent hiatus. In fact, their output is both more mature and beautiful. In fact, Kid Games may be one of the most promising and pretty releases of 2012.