Shadows Explode by The Gladeyes
The follow up to Psychosis of Love, the duo's acclaimed 2009 album, the new album was recorded over six months as spring gave way to summer toward the end of 2010. By contrast to its predecessor, which was the product of a decade's worth of writing and two years of production, Shadows Explode is less laboured, and has more in common with the long string of hand-made and home-recorded EPs which make up The Gladeyes output through the 2000s.
An album of witchy guitar-pop, Shadows remains strongly informed by long-time touchstones The Velvet Underground and The Carpenters, while adding some of the hazy, romantic riffs of Best Coast and Dum Dum Girls, US all-female bands with whom The Gladeyes share a sonic spirit. It was recorded in locations across Auckland, principally at Gwen's parents house, when the buzzing of cicadas quietened down enough, but also in the studio of collaborator James Hayday, and even a car park, chosen for the inimitable echo it brought to backing vocals.
The songs are slightly less literary than Gladeyes compositions past, with the characters and narratives giving way to songs more personal but also slightly opaque - a product of a writing style which encouraged, even demanded the trusting of instincts rather than lengthy meddling. This extended to the recordings, which valued immediacy and allowed for imperfect takes if they exposed the raw bones of the song, and artwork which returns to the hand-drawn elements which they built their house on. It's elements like this which make The Gladeyes feel incredibly close and personal - the barriers other artists place between themselves and their audience is entirely absent - here instead is a band which in both their recording and writing hones in on details others might find unremarkable, finding and glorying in the realities of life and love, rather than the unrecognisable facsimiles to which we're all too regularly exposed.