Gut Splinter –  Nova Flares (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

Nova Flares - Gut Splinter (cover artwork)Even if the current zeitgeist wasn’t already highly receptive to the dreamscapes and shoegazing explorations of past heroes and current torch bearers, this debut single by Jason Wagers solo project Nova Flares would still have caught the ear of the discerning and those appreciating tasteful and original music. At least one would hope so. This instrumental blending of retro sounds into what the artist himself has dubbed “surfgaze” is a glorious affair, never wandering too far into shoegaze that the melody gets lost in the musical morass or meandering the other way so that a pop frivolity ruins the gentle majesty of the song.

It picks at jangling sixties guitar threads but this is Byrdsian sonic territory as seen through a late 80’s lens and the psychedelic undercurrents remain just that rather than take the listener down into acid-laced and claustrophobic waters. Gut Splinter is light to the touch but deftly constructed, layered and textured rather than spacious and sparse, it re-imagines the past rather than revisits it, and does so by cherry picking all the cool vibes from across the decades and fashioning them into both a past that never was and therefore a future which just might be.

In our post-genre, non-tribal, musical fluid world, Nova Flares is the equivilant of a skinny-jeaned indie kid wearing a Beach Boys t-shirt, clutching a Dream Syndicate album, whistleing a My Bloody Valentine tune (if that is even practical) as they make their way to a Warlocks gig. Maybe this is the point of conception for a whole new The Paisley Overground! Wouldn’t that be something?


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