Whirr, Nothing, Serfs

When: Fri., Aug. 9 2013

WHIRR Forget about grunge. Spawned from a rainy afternoon tryst between the ear-bleeding decibels of Dinosaur Jr. and the clammy ennui of Portishead, shoegaze may be the most enduring signature sound of the ’90s. Riding the crest of the current noise-pop revival, Bay Area sextet Whirr are lush and loud, shimmering and sloshy. Layers of guitars carry direct, dramatic melodies as well as razor-sharp textures. Lead guitarist Nick Basset once played for math-rock inflected black metalers Deafheaven, and he brings surprising smears of over-driven noise to the table, courtesy of effects pedal settings unknown to mere mortals. Yet Whirr’s churning wall of texture is spacious as well. The cascading riffs and thundering drums leave openings for acoustic piano and dual female vocals that entwine in an airy Gordian knot. Loud, gorgeous and unnerving, Whirr may never escape comparisons to forebears Cocteau Twins and My Bloody Valentine, but they get points for tweaking their sturdy template. Recent material ditches the catchy song-craft for cold and glassy abstraction. It’s a successful hike into the hinterlands that reinforces the suppleness and durability of Whirr’s chosen genre.

Pat Moran

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