Feature by Ziv Biton
Kestrels established serious buzz with their 2012 release A Ghost History. That release saw the Halifax group experimenting with pop-punk themes with an untraditional sonic scope. But, where A Ghost History at times felt uncertain and convoluted, their new EP The Moon Is Shining Our Way is a focused exhibition of glimmering shoegaze. It’s a good thing too since the underlying shoegaze of A Ghost History was always Kestrels’ most exciting moments. With focus has come far cleaner production thanks to recording out of Dream House Studios; home of other like-minded noise acts Crystal Castles and METZ. TMISOW certainly ascribes to the old adage that emulation is the greatest form of flattery. The record is not without dutifully paid homage to My Bloody Valentine’s seminal classic Loveless, but Kestrels’ pop-punk edge breaks through the comparisons, creating something recognizable yet fresh. Which is really all you could ever want from a shoegaze outfit.
Why We Like Them:
There are a lot of reasons, but the biggest would have to be because we LOVE shoegaze. Though the genre is packed with chumps who think transcending sonic nirvana is as simple as: 1) turning your amp to 11 and 2) recording high pitched vocals very low in the mix, Kestrels actually seems to understand the subtlety required to make melody move through the noize.
This is a very small EP, clocking in at a grand total of 15 minutes. Do yourself a favor and listen to the whole thing. But, if our 140-character culture has so done us in, here are some highlights:
“Eternal and Debased” opens the album with a charging force. Churning guitars soar over aggressive punk drums. Chad Peck’s breathless vocals carry the verse out of the sonic jungle, onto a swirling landscape of shining sound.
“The Double” is the most obvious tribute to MBV. It’s a dead ringer for a “Come In Alone” doppelganger. But where “Come In Alone” feels like a ship propelling to the furthest point of existential self-realism in the known universe, “The Double” feels more like a drill; digging to impossible depths of consciousness and reminding you to look to your left and enjoy your reflection.
Upcoming Live Dates:
Sorry, Los Angeles, no shows for us yet. But Kestrels are currently on tour through North America.
Stream Kestrels’ The Moon Is Shining EP below.