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Friday, October 24, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 49.0° F  Fog/Mist
The Paper
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A Sunny Day in Glasgow: Ashes Grammar
(Mis Ojos Discos)

In the late 1980s, when My Bloody Valentine began dissolving their vocals in a wave of noise, the band proved that a lack of distinguishable lyrics could set the mood at least as well as poetry. A Sunny Day in Glasgow's sophomore album takes this approach to heart 20 years later, letting pop melodies melt into the arresting ambience of guitar effects. The voices aren't the most stunning you'll ever hear, and the hooks tread into some familiar territory, but the album will move you, and also fly your brain through the atmosphere like a kite.

The album's title song, ripe with melancholy mandolins, sounds like a spacey permutation of Led Zeppelin's "Battle of Evermore" or a backwards, underwater rendition of R.E.M.'s "Losing My Religion." "The White Witch" takes the most by-the-book approach to shoegaze, but one that's at least as focused on the melodies beneath the haze as the haze itself. The words themselves may be submerged, but their timbre and cadence rise upward. Meanwhile, the lilting oohs and ahs that shoot through "Shy" like comets are joined by a cosmic storm of dreamy electronics and drums that pop like thunder and hail. It's as mesmerizing as it is mysterious.

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