The White Cascade are a noisy space-gaze trio from Raleigh in North Carolina: Matt Guess (Guitar, Vocals), Matt Cash (Bass, Vocals), Matt Robbins (Drums, Percussion). Their debut album Endless was released by North Carolina label Deep Space Recordings who are a: “Small indie label trying to keep the spark of shoegazing alive” and are also home to LSD and the Search for God and Tears Run Rings (The Fauns US base). The White Cascade have released two EP’s previously and have been working hard to come up with this full-length; ten song album.
The album is full of all sorts of influences mixed with dreampop / shoegaze , but just a bit too heavy at times to call it dreamgaze. So, overall I do agree with their own term space-gaze which is articulated by titles like “Austronaut”, “Endless” and “Mission Accomplished”. On close hearing, we can descry the swirling layers of effect-drowned guitars plus echoing vocals inherent to the shoegaze genre ( “Endless” etc.) but also electronic dance-beats; (“Prophetica”); post-rock AvantGarde musings (“Digital Pictures of Japanese Castles”); metalcore (?…”Austronaut”) and notably, something I haven’t heard in the gaze cosmos before and which struck me straight away: the influence of 70’s prog/ jazz fusion.
I hear this most prominently in the brilliant opener “Anything you want” which is like falling into clouds of atmospheric jazz chords and recoiling murmurs that spiral infinitesimally. I instantly recalled Jan Akkerman’s self-titled album from 1977. That same dreamy, astral sound is sustained in the first bars of “Astronaut”, but then pounding drums and distortion kick in and the whole thing becomes a pretty powerful, mindblowing trip. The enigmatic “Digital Pictures of Japanese Castles” feels like floating around in the ether, picking up shards of soundwaves and tones of disconnected phones which reminded me of Kate Bush’ “All the Love” that also transmitted the theme of impersonalisation in the digital/ technological age.
“Mission Accomplished” starts out slowly like an abstract space-scape, then, ever so subtly, yearning guitars; a “gut-wrenching” bass; spectral vocals and all human emotion float passed as we are thrown into infinity and let go of all that binds us to earth and become one with the universe. Mission Accomplished indeed. Endless stangely enough doesn’t end with this song and there’s loads more to be discovered for the musical space traveller, but one thing is clear: in a universe of infinite star – and shoegazers, The White Cascade are shining their own tiny, bright light.