Depending on where you stand on the shoegazer front, ‘Disaster Tourist’ will be a dream or a worst nightmare. For here we have seventy minutes of “classic” shoegaze which harks back to the early 1990’s, the time where this genre was at the peak of its brief period of popularity. Naturally, recent years have shown that the scene is just as much alive today as ever. Another recent exponent is Spotlight Kid, who have found that all-important middle ground between rock-solid rhythms and float-away tunes.
Ex-Six.By Seven man Chris Davis is an integral member of the band (as both drummer and co-songwriter) and his influence is partly responsible for Spotlight Kid’s heavy spin on the shoegaze sound. It’s apparent from the opening, aggressive strains of ‘Plan Comes Apart’ and there’s rarely a let up in the intensity. Drones also play a part to ‘All Is Real’ which is swamped in distortion. There are times when, perhaps unsurprisingly, Katty Heath’s light yet blank vocals threaten to become submerged but she puts up stubborn resistance to the noise around her.
‘April’ may possess a relentless chugging rhythm but it’s got a melody which floats most agreeably. ‘Forget Yourself In Me’ wastes no time at all and rattles along like the band’s own version of ‘You Made Me Realise’ but it’s ‘Haunting Me’ which lasts longest in the memory. The guitar effects fade in and out beautifully with Heath’s heavenly sighs; both bleeding and crying their way through six minutes of glorious melancholia. That track is followed by the sparse, rustic sounds of ‘Lifeline’, a nicely judged comedown that is reminiscent of Slowdive’s ‘Dagger’
Seventy minutes of any album, let alone one which is drowned in effects, is always going to be something of a slog. However, this is a deluxe edition so if you can do without alternate versions and a shimmering take on Simple Minds’ ‘Don’t You Forget About Me’ (not to mention ace early single ‘There’s A Reason Why’) what you have is a mostly good and occasionally brilliant record which includes some welcome variations on a supposedly limited genre.
My Bloody Valentine, Six.By Seven, Her Vanished Grace, Thrushes