Sunday, 13 March 2016
Shoegaze Ramblings, featuring Supercar & Tuath
When I went to The Great Escape Festival in Brighton in 2014, one of the greatest discoveries that I made was not a band nor a song who were in attendance at the festival, but a group that had disbanded approximately ten years earlier. I was at the Japanese showcase during the festival (the same showcase where I witnessed the incredibly weird Buffalo Daughter in person), when I heard this wonderful shoegaze track bursting out of the speakers which completely overwhelmed me. After a short bit of DJ-bothering, I learned the track in question was "Playstar Vista", a song by Japanese band Supercar -
There were many things that struck me about that song, aside from how ruddy fantastic it was. One thing that I thought was interesting that given that it came out in 2000, it was released almost an equal distance away both from the original shoegaze scene of the early 90s and the nu-gaze revival that really got going in the late 00s, and its sound seems to come off almost like a "missing link" between the two.
But the other thing that's notable about the song is that it is sung in Japanese, it took me quite a few listens of the song for me to realise this, yet this didn't impede my enjoyment of the music (as I've alluded to before, despite my love of Japanese culture, my knowledge of the language is very limited). I guess this is one of the great things about the shoegaze genre - because the voice is treated almost like another instrument, the words themselves aren't as important, rather the feelings that they convey.
This leads me nicely onto another shoegaze band that I've recently come across, Tuath. The Donegal band's sound is very much in the mold of the My Bloody Valentine-esque shoegazers of yore (albeit with added saxophone), but what sets them apart from other bands of the same ilk is that across many of their songs, they sing completely in Irish. Once again, my knowledge of Irish is very basic at best. I can count to 20 in the language, I can say "Dia dhuit" and I know what a buscar bruscar is, but that's about it. Yet in spite of this, I was completely captivated by the sound of the band on songs such as "Uisce Uisce Read All About It" (which is part of a free E.P the group released last year) -
It is usually said that English is the universal language of music. However, if there was one genre that I would say is the most universal, it would be shoegaze. There's not many genres where the singer can perform in a language that is completely alien to the listener, still convey so much meaning and emotion. And it's bands like Supercar and Tuath that remind us of this fact.
For a more recent song by Tuath, here's their cover/remix of "Casting Shadows Over The Sun" by Shammin Delly -