Ringo Deathstarr‘s, Colour Trip, is a realization of the relativity of silence. No matter where we are, or what noise-cancelling headphones we buy at the airport, there will always be sound. The constant barrage of noise found on this record doesn’t overwhelm the senses with vicious distortion as much as it subdues the ears into treating the overdrive as a calming grey noise; The gentle tone of a needle on vinyl. It’s a lo-fi tribute milkshake of My Bloody Valentine, Jesus and the Mary Chain, with a malt sprinkling of Buzzcocks, intended to be slurped through the straw of nostalgia.
The songs, separated from the noisy facade, are actually quite charming. Songs like “Imagine Hearts” and “Tambourine Girl” balance cheery 60’s pop progressions with more complex, 90’s alternative-rock harmonic turns. The vocal interplay between bassist, Alex Gehring, and guitarist, Elliot Frazier, is endearing as well; a sweeter Sonic Youth, perhaps. Really, given the mopey connotations attached to shoe gaze, Ringo Deathstarr is unexpectedly smile-invoking.
Even if they intended it to be a constant stream of noise, however, the lack of dynamic contrast is disappointing. Each track begins with intriguing openings (especially the glitch-hop drums on “Imagine Hearts”) that fall into a lazy mess of feedback (with the exception of “Day Dreamy”). The noise becomes so constant that it loses it’s meaning completely, eventually becoming a substitute for silence. Beneath the noise, the songs are essentially fake sheets waiting to be interpreted. If Elliot Frazier can learn how to stop playing guitar every once in a while, Ringo Deathstarr may very well churn out a fantastic album. As it stands now, Colour Trip is a well-formed sketch of an album in desperate need of a producer who has heard of the Pixies.
For fans of: My Bloody Valentine, Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr., Jesus and the Mary Chain, Royal Trux, and injecting heroin.