February 12, 2009: Averkiou, Throwing Sparks

Vice’s record reviews section has always been jokey and glib and often just as susceptible to trendwhoring as Pitchfork/Stereogum/[the latest hipster tastemaker scapegoat], but I still respect it because it’s entertaining, has a pretty clear-cut and consistent point of view, and covers stuff that doesn’t get a whole lot of exposure elsewhere in the blogosphere. It’s rare that our tastes overlap, so I do have to give them credit for introducing me to Throwing Sparks whe they favorably reviewed it in a recent issue; I figure that any shoegazer band that Vice likes has to be good.

Now, I claim to be a shoegazer fan, but I’ve come to realize that I really only like the particular cross-section that manages to be dense, loud, dreamy, and a little blurry around the edges without being either too ethereal or too overtly “rock”. Averkiou fits that bill almost perfectly, recalling the early 90’s sounds of Swervedriver and Drop Nineteens with guitar piled on top of heavy, swooping, delirious guitar. The sound is so good that I’m tempted to gloss over the actual songs, but truth be told, the main reason I don’t much for a lot of what calls itself “nu-gazer” is that it does exactly that. Thankfully, Averkiou doesn’t assume that atmospherics are enough to carry an album, and Throwing Sparks has some pretty solid (if simple) pop-song sensibilities at its foundation. It’s just a shame that it barely breaks 25 minutes.