Her Vanished Grace must rank as one of New York’s best keep secrets. They are now on their ninth album of original material and show no signs of slowing down. In fact, ‘Star-Crossed’ is noticeably louder and faster than their recent dreampop-oriented efforts.
The main difference to note this time is definitely the aggression. ‘Car Crash’ is a supercharged collision of effects and driving rock and sets expectation for HVG at their most forceful. The drums are cavernous and pounding for ‘Fade Away’, whereas Nance and Charles Nieland trade sweet vocals for ‘Break Down’ as the instruments around them try their best to sound like the Cocteau Twins at their most violent.
Delving further in to the record, ‘Hungry’ is slick and industrial like late-period Depeche Mode. The modern sheen might make the quartet seem a little cold but for all the controlled chaos, ‘Turn It Over’ stands out for being a little quieter and having the album’s best tune and the final song, ‘Earth Stood Still’, restores an element of calm.
Even if Her Vanished Grace are still classed as a shoegazing act, they buck the trend with strident vocals, guitars and rhythms. Most pleasingly of all, though, they rarely lose track of that ability to grab the listener’s ear and never let it go.