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Daydream Nation - Daydream Nation / Bella Vendetta
(Elephant Stone Records)

The young Kitten P used to be in a ‘band’ called Daydream Scene. We ‘formed’ around the time Daydream Nation (the album) was released. Like lots of folk at the time, we regarded Sonic Youth as our Holy Grail. Add to that a devotion to The Jesus & Mary Chain, My Bloody Valentine, Spacemen Three, Pixies, Loop…and you get the prototype for what became known as ‘shoegazing’. Daydream Scene trickled away, but other kids who’d gone through the same process as us ended up being The Telescopes and Ride and then it all got a bit more watered down and you got Chapterhouse ‘n’ (yikes!) Revolver ‘n’ stuff.

Fast forward to er, now and outside of the UK (Daydream Nation are Canadian, but see also Yanks like The Stratford 4) there’s this continuing preoccupation with photocopying the sound of Young (middle) England circa 1991. I’m not sure its strictly necessary, but still, I’m a sucker for this kind of thing, especially as autumn draws in. Those hazy washes of beamed-in guitar act as the perfect aural equivalent of comfort eating. You feel a touch guilty for loving it, but you can’t help rummaging in the tin for just one more effects pedal plastered tune. Drums rattle, reverb strobes, chords bloom and settle into layers of sound and in accordance with the big book of shoe-gazey cliches, vacant, non-specific druggy references abound; ‘Trying to get so high’ ‘take me higher and higher’, ‘higher than everyone’, ‘so high up on the sun’.

Daydream Nation have apparently received stick for their name, like, how dare they deem themselves worthy? If you’re gonna name yourself after a beloved religious artefact, you’d better be prepared to front it out. Daydream Scene obviously don’t give a fig or they’re a bit mental ‘cos then they go and compound the ‘error’ by calling a song on their eponymous debut album, ‘Swastika Eyes’. Blimey. It’s not like that’s an everyday phrase like ’I Love You’ or something is it? Chris Roberts once wrote of Ultra Vivid Scene naming a song ‘The Mercy Seat’ (not long after Nick Cave had), “If I wrote a book next week I’d have too much pride to entitle it ‘The Great Gatsby’ or ‘Tropic Of Cancer’. I mean wouldn’t you?” I remember this as I listen to ‘Swastika Eyes’ which is pretty much the exact opposite of the teeth-grinding whiteout of the Primal Scream song. Daydream Nation seem to be extolling the concept that the opposite of love is indifference, reverbed to the max, looming in and out of a penumbra of fuzz.

On the new album ‘Bella Vendetta’ (‘Beautiful Revenge’ innit?) Daydream Nation have put a tiger in their tank. ‘Grrrr’ they go on opener, ‘Neon’, ‘we can do that garage-tinged fuzz-face dimstar-rock as good as BRMC.’ Then they sink back on their velvet cushions and go ‘Aaah, now hear our dazed guitars and swoon.’ So we do ‘cos there’s nowt on the telly and it’s good fun riding the waves of this voluptuous music, like spinning round deliberately making yourself dizzy and then lying on the grass and watching the cloudy sky buckle.

RRRG: Unlikely blessed rage

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