Surfacing to Breathe by Clustersun

Release date: May 19, 2017
Label: Seahorse Recordings

Three years in the making, Sicilian-based band Clustersun have upped the ante on their sophomore album Surfacing to Breathe. Formed in 2013, the band includes Marco Chisari (vocals/bass), Mario Lo Faro (guitars), Piergiorgio Campione (synthesizers/keyboards/backing vocals), and Andrea Conti (drums). While they are known primarily as shoegazers, their sound has evolved to include elements of post punk, noise pop, and mind-bending psych.

The sound here is more up front aggressive and hard charging, and it suits them well. In fact, I almost imagine I hear elements of Killing Joke (witness the pounding ‘Antagonize Me’) and other blistering post punkers. Opening track ‘Raw Nerve’ embodies this musical shift, yet incorporates huge, echoing sonics from their ‘gazey hearts. Darker textures abound, and it’s a welcome addition to the mix. Marco Chisari states, “We are so much happy and proud of how ‘Surfacing to Breathe’ came out, mainly because we’ve managed to capture how the band sounds live.” Indeed, there is a vibrant immediacy to the production quality, sounding like it was recorded inside of a huge space.

The third track ‘Lonely Moon’ returns to their signature sound, with an infectious melody and some nice vocal work from Chisari. ‘The Whirling Dervish’ is intense and eerie, with some high-pitched sounds that really get your attention. It’s dramatic and you won’t forget its ominous pulse anytime soon. ‘Don’t Let the Weight of Your Soul Drag You Down’ is a minor key masterpiece, nicely draped with the cool embrace of dream pop. It ventures a bit into the psych gaze space, and nicely sums up the appeal of this band in one short instrumental break.

‘Surfacing to Breathe’ is a prime slice of space rock, reminding me in parts of Storm in Heaven Verve. Enjoy the ride as the song shoots you into orbit! And ooh, I really dig “Emotional Painkiller”, a shift to post punk with a creepy ambience that really shines here. Best song on the record for this listener, out of a bunch of great songs. I am vaguely reminded of Joy Division, maybe because of the driving bass and drums. The final tune ‘Event Horizon’ is another epic tune with many interesting melodic twists and turns and a percussion line that thrums like a heartbeat.

In summary, this second release is well worth your time and effort to pick up and savor. Highly recommended!

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