Published Sep 28, 2016On their third album, Halifax noise-pop trio Kestrels solidify their reputation as worthy contenders in the new wave of shoegaze. Their dreamy take on the genre benefits highly from better production (thanks to some seasoned personnel) and sturdier performances than on their previous full-length album, A Ghost History.
While the band shadow '90s shoegaze stalwarts from across the Atlantic, like My Bloody Valentine, Slowdive and Swervedriver — whose recent returns to the fray happened to coincide with the genre's revival in the past few years — they also bear a little resemblance to fellow Canadian bands in the synth-y, dreamy indie-rock realm like Metric and Stars (see "Temples," for example). The buzzing guitars can give off a strong Smashing Pumpkins vibe; unsurprising, given the record was mixed by Brad Wood, whose credits include the Pumpkins and Sunny Day Real Estate. Maybe more than anyone, fans of newer shoegazing acts like Pity Sex and Nothing will find plenty to like about Kestrels. The album can all start to blend together if you're not paying close attention, but if that's a turn-off, it may be that this type of thing just isn't for you.
The serene and sedative "Lying Down" and the vast, upbeat "Ace" are the main standouts here; also worth a nod are the swirling "Wide Eyes," the warbling "Descent of Their Last End" and the heavy, thundering "Neko." Guitarist-singer Chad Peck is accompanied tremendously throughout the album by Ringo Deathstarr's Alex Gehring, whose voice complements the band's sound so well it may be worth thinking about whether to make a permanent addition to the lineup. (Sonic Unyon)