The band Film School makes music that's perched somewhere between that of Swervedriver and Slowdive. To suggest that the tunes found on the band's newest album, Bright To Death, were shoegaze would not be entirely wrong. Still, there's a lot more life here than that genre-label might suggest, and things are buoyed considerably by the presence of stellar drummer Adam Wade (Jawbox, Shudder To Think) on lots of the cuts.
"Don't Send My Love" shimmers and chimes, shades of early Church singles popping up here, while the bright "Bye Bye Bird" offers up a faint hint of the sort of electro-throb that propelled many an O.M.D. or New Order single in the Eighties. If Film School are interested in the textures of that era, they are also keen to update the sounds for a new century. The excellent "Two In Sun" is a model of how to marry a melody to a pristine arrangement, and every bit as affecting as the slower numbers from that recent Ride record, even as "The Celebration" goes all-in on the sort of twitchy New Wave that soundtracked an era between post-punk and alt-rock. If this superb cut sounds a bit like, say, both Bauhaus and Wire Train (think "Chamber of Hellos"), that's the highest praise I could give the music of Film School. I wouldn't want to label this group a retro-act but I do think that by highlighting the portions of this record that feel so familiar, a prospective listener can get a better idea of what these superb musicians are capable of, and the ease with which they blend some worthy influences.
Bright To Death is out now via HausKat Records and the link below.
[Photo: Howard Wise]