Shimmer Drop Medium This September
It seems rare these days that noise rock is what it's advertised as. Bands use a fuzz pedal and suddenly they're self-proclaimed noise art. But not Brooklyn quartet Shimmer. With their debut S/T LP, it's safe to say you get what you pay for. A rollicking blend of incoherent rhythms, trebly-beyond-trebly guitar, and unheard of vocals constitute the ten-tracks-in-twenty-three-minutes of this record. Pulling from, and fleshing out everything lamentable about the state of the world today, Shimmer sprints in the opposite direction of convention and tears down anything resembling "pretty" complacency along the way. Things aren't ok, and we need a band that reflects this. Like T.S. Eliot did for post-World-War-I Europe, Shimmer's debut acts like something of a Wasteland, Ani Ivry-Block's blood-curdling guttural howls smashing the two-way mirror of societal norms to bits and leaving us to try to piece it back together and make sense of it. An image is there, but it's skewed. It's the incomprehensible sound of individuals striving, clawing, dying for individuality in a world trying to smother it, jumping from the pure outrage of opener "Enter Shimmer" to the pensive, ill-at-ease whispers on "Okay" and "Heavenly - Not Fade Away," and back again.
It's all surrounded and supported by a car crash of twitchy, heavy instrumentation that familiarizes its listener with the obscure and absurd. It doesn't make sense. IT doesn't have to make sense, but it has to make them feel, even if that feeling is skin-crawling disquiet. Pounding kick drum and swooping bass are punchy enough to knock the taste out of your mouth, while the guitar's twang and the snarling, throaty growls of Ani's rage enter your psyche with the subtlety of a demonic possession. Convention may be found under certain rocks--brief moments of reprieve, but they are ever so brief, before the weight of the world crashes again in a tidal wave of some ridiculous nausea. It's unrelenting (but isn't the rest of the world?), even until the somewhat quieter, wholly dystopian landscape of its closer, "Do It Dead." Carving their own road out of crude materials, Shimmer has taken the noise-punk thing and turned it on its head, giving way to endless possibilities for their future, and this is so far speaking solely about a record.
Their live set plays more as performance art, or immersive poetic theatre. Take away the backing sounds and you'd still have enough of a spectacle to tour as its own abstract circus of insanity. Ani traverses both stage and floor, amps and crowd, navigating self and spewing it out in front of everyone to dissect, while the rest of the band thunders prominently in the background. There is costume, there is a frenzied energy, there is catharsis, and it's ever-changing. This shall not be a band to miss, neither via album nor on stage.
Shimmer is: Ani Ivry-Block, Paco Cathcart, Simon Hanes, Nina Ryser
1. Enter Shimmer
2. High Gloss
3. Hold It
4. Crystal Lysterine
5. Heavenly - Not Fade Away
6. Pose 1, 2, 3
7. Let Er Know
9. Sixteen Sides
10. Do It Dead