I despise labels, but I often find myself falling into the trap of using them when all else fails. I have had numerous discussions and arguments with people about specific labels and what they actually represent. I can remember one instance in which I was chastised by a friend for equating emo with shoegazer rock. My friend, rightfully so, explained to me that they are mutually exclusive, that the former simply has emotionally drenched personal lyrics, while the latter is more about the music, itself a description of what its fans do as they listen to the trancelike qualities inherent in it. Another more recent discussion involved using the term `indie’ as a description of a type of music, when in actuality, it used to simply denote the fact that the band was on an independent label. Now, if an artist doesn’t sound like something you’d hear on commercial radio, you’ll hear, “They’re kind of indie.”
Why am I bringing up these examples? Well, because the Brooklyn based duo of This Invitation is a new `shoegazer’ band that sounds kinda `indie.’ They’ve already been compared with `indie’ legends, mainstays, and figureheads such as Sonic Youth, Yo la Tengo and Galaxie 500, while also being compared to indie godparents, Velvet Underground. They’re already enmeshed in the New York art scene, although they are transplants from San Francisco, an arty place altogether similar but different, and have even played in museums at exhibitions.
Warren Ng and Casey Farnum make up This Invitation and their guitars and hushed voices are certainly worthy of the comparison to Velvet Underground, while also comparable to quieter songs from Jesus & Mary Chain, Slint, and My Bloody Valentine. Make no mistake, shoegazer rock is back and its hitting the museums, greenhouses, and film scores near you!
The Skin of Light is an amazingly skillful if not innocuous album. Whether listening to it as simply background noise or in the dark, concentrating on the sound as pure art, the album works on many levels. Like all good music, this one requires some work on the part of the listener to get all of its nuances and subtlety, but the listener is rewarded for his effort.
The Velvet Underground- The Velvet Underground
My Bloody Valentine- Loveless
Galaxie 500- This is Our Music