Reading in Berkshire will forever be associated with the shoegaze movement having been the birthplace of founder members Slowdive and Chapterhouse amongst others. The recent reunion of the former band has helped to cast a favourable light on this unfairly mocked genre too, so it seems quite timely that a new act should emerge from town such as Viscious Liquid AKA Rhys Williams.
I was intrigued to find that Reading is described as a “dying town” in the Viscous Liquid bio, since it has often topped polls for being one of the best places to live in the UK but this is perhaps how Williams visualises it and the beginning of his new EP certainly seems to be informed by something profoundly sad. Indeed, the guitars on ‘Beach Party Yesterday’ are so submerged in effects you would think they were being played underwater. It’s a poignant instrumental though and one which casts the mind back to The Radio Dept.
‘When I See You’ could be referred to as a traditional shoegaze song. FX pedals run wild here, whilst Williams’s rather thin vocals provide an almost inaudible extra layer to the occasionally clanging instrumental parts. No matter, the tunefulness alone should appeal to ‘gazers the world over. Look beneath ‘If I Go’, though, and there’s a distinct air of Brit Pop in the song’s key melody but finally – and perhaps most impressively – ‘Fun & Games’ peels away further layers to reveal a dreamy, jangly pop song which recalls Pale Saints in their pomp.
‘Songs For Jealous Lovers’ touches on both old and nu-gaze across its four tracks. It’s not going to win any converts but the references to some of the genre’s finest acts and the actual quality of the material here should mean it’s a shoo-in for followers of the scene.
Viscious Liquid – Songs For Jealous Lovers
Pale Saints, Ride, The Radio Dept.