In “A Bird And Its Wings”–the opening song from Bloodpheasant’s debut–overlapping chunks of last decade’s ‘shoegaze’ and this decade’s ‘doom’ appear right away. Thankfully, they skip any needless repetition which drags down average specimen from either era. Hailing from Providence, members come from Weak Teeth, Best Practices and The Two Funerals, though you won’t hear much directly traceable to them. Instead, they use a shoegaze/doom template–both of which are often attempted and rarely mastered–and pull it off, coloring well outside the lines in the process.
“Our Homes And Their Adornments” is their statement song, with a well-known epic post-hardcore structure, while leaving out the style’s tradition of self-limitation. A long, swaying intro is more suspenseful than cynical or dramatic. Once the vocals kick in, it’s as much Black Mountain or Windhand as Circle Takes The Square, though strong traces of each are represented. The song’s latter half is also the best example of singer Shannon Le Corre’s range, which can be fragile and vulnerable, but never meek. Shown off throughout Traum, her voice adds a lot to a band drawing from genres where vocal range is low on the qualifications list.
There’s a general restraint, especially in production and writing on the guitar parts. It’s inconspicuous at first, but the absence of booming metal-style production extinguishes any last hints of schlock which may have survived. Instead, there s a much more relatable, almost peak-grunge feeling. It’s especially obvious in Side B standouts “Wyola” and “Farewell, Viking,” both of which feel like a mix of Cult Of Luna and True Widow. This restraint is a classic case of addition by subtraction. The humongous full stack “BUH-BUH-BUUUUUH” riff is heavy music’s version of explosions and car chases in action movies; the tired, but reliable illusion of intensity. In it’s place, Bloodpheasant have left themselves a ton of latitude to cover way more ground than their RIYL list could imply.
“Our Homes and their Adornments”
from: Traum // Tor Johnson Records
— S. ANDERSON