Review: Swooning - "Gloom"

Swooning - Gloom
(AXRC 2017)

As stoked as I should be for the release of Slowdive's upcoming reunion record, gorging myself on Chicago-based quartet Swooning's deceptively filling sophomore EP, Gloom, has rendered me stuffed on dream-pop for the time being. Countless Bandcamp projects have offered their iterations of garage grown shoegaze over the past half-decade, yet Swooning's flashlight beacon peeks from this digital forest thanks to its jarring dynamics and flaky production - their distortion-polluted puddles of power chord runoff lie stagnant, pooling in the damp earth's indentations as surf rock riffage reminiscent of Beach Fossils falls from the overcast malaise.  

Opener "Cold" invokes the intense fragility of Ride's "In A Different Place", its distant, clouded vocals and shimmering lead guitars narrowly dodging the blunt force of tattered percussion, blown-out drum fills and tempo-changes pitching county fair booth curveballs at the glassware dreamscape. In terms of replayability, "Awhile" is Gloom's strongest showing, making an olympic leap from an Alex G chord progression to the sort of serrated fuzz-punk sprint that Dinosaur Jr. might have included on their Bug LP. 

Despite sub-zero temperatures, swoon in the oppressive humidity of Gloom's shoegaze atmosphere.