Lost Shoegaze Gems part II: The Suncharms & Dreamscape

The Suncharms

14527603_1754155284848787_1197857176_nThe Suncharms were an indie band that was formed in Sheffield, 1989 and played with the likes of Catherine Wheel and Curve to name a few. The Suncharms are: Marcus Palmer-vocals, Matt Neale-guitar, John Malone-guitar and Richard Farnell-bassguitar, and Chris Ridley on drums. Their first two EP’s were released on Wilde Club Records. In 1992 they even recorded a Peel Session. Sadly, in April ’93 The Suncharms played their last show. Now, 24 years later, Cloudberry Records, has released a remastered compilation that includes their two 12″ EPs on Wilde Club Records as well as compilation tracks and unreleased songs. The album is available in a digital format here on Bandcamp!

The album is a must for lovers of that pure 90’s crossover sound that was also present with bands like The Mockturtles and The Milton Brothers at the start of the 90’s: the era in which a transition was gradually being made from glittery c86 jangle to hazy reverb drenched shoegaze sounds, and also heavily influenced by the more danceable Madchester sound.

The charm of the Suncharms lies exactly in that mash-up of indie influences that we loved so much. “Sparkle is a brilliant example, it has that untouched 80’s jangle guitar sound but with a lot more noise thrown in and the vocals clearly pushed to the background as an unmistakable shoegaze trait. “Reflectionsstarts out soberly and then at 1:15 explodes into a baggy dancefest! I can only imagine what that must have been done to the crowd at their gigs: bowl-cut fringes flopping and bopping all over the place. When I hear “Spaceship” I can’t help but wonder if Adorable hadn’t been listening to this: same rushy energy and persuasive beats as for example “Sistine Chapel Ceiling,  and now and again then I hear a similarity to Revolver, another underrated shoegaze band.

All in all, keep on a eye on The Suncharms because the guys are currently working on a brandnew full album and also a show is coming up soon together with The Orchids and The Chesterfields on February 17 at the Continental in Preston, UK. What a wonderful line-up!

Dreamscape

news-12-07-dreamscapeBetween 1990 and 1993, this Bristol based trio created ethereal 4AD-esque shoegaze. Dreamscape consisted of vocalist Rebecca Rawlings and multi-instrumentalists Scott Purnell and Jamie Gingell, who, later on, formed the Sarah Records band Secret Shine. In 1990, the Bristol trio released the single “Blackflower’/’Evergreen“, and in 1992, they released their Cradle EP”. The final Dreamscape recordings were around the same time as the debut of Secret Shine, which they Scott and Jamie pursued without singer Rebecca , and became a noted name in the world of shoegaze. The debut album “Untouched” was recently reissued by Saint Marie Records. The allure of Dreamscape‘s obscurity is also so radically cool that it begs to remain untouched.

The most obvious comparison to the sound of Dreamscape is that of 4AD band Lush, in their earlier “Spooky period. What sets them apart though,  is the use of the Alesis SR16 drum machine, cranking out beautiful byzantine drumpatterns under a canopy of chorus and adorned by occasional soft dabs of piano. Rebecca’s soft layered harmonies and hermetic lyrics are just slightly more “on-key” and innocent than those of Miki Berenyi, but the chord changes, again, are highly reminiscent of Lush. Dreamscape were an outstanding representative of the 4AD sound without ever being signed to them.

In 2012 Kranky compiled a Dreamscape collection called “La-Di-Da Recordings, which contains most of the lost tracks. The first four songs come from “Greater Than God, an unreleased 1993 EP, and the last song is the demo song “No More But Thought“:  the only material left from a recording session that occurred right before the band broke up. The rest comes from the 1992 “Cradle EP”:

  1. Separate Sense
  2. Greater Than God
  3. Finally Through
  4. Soft Fists
  5. So Far From Belief
  6. Cradle
  7. Nine Times to Die
  8. Dreamsleep Eternal
  9. No More But Thought

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