Tuesday, August 20th, at The Garden Bowl
With two albums to date, Bay Area six-piece Whirr has developed a reputation for dirgeful shoegaze, buttressed with textured layers or guitar and weighty, driving compositions. Spacious and moody, their 2012 LP Pipe Dream drew comparisons to heavyweights of the genre My Bloody Valentine, Ride and Slowdive. Pitchfork said, "The overall sound-- patient, spacious, loud, colorful-- is comparable to Swirlies, Velocity Girl, or some other small DIY American group you'd call "smeary" or "shoegaze" and attempt to link to Slowdive or My Bloody Valentine in the 1990s."
Now, Whirr returns with Around, an EP that finds the group restrained, but no less dark. Here, they explore longer songs, with their shortest clocking in at just under six minutes. Catchy melodies, traditionally a part of the band's wheelhouse, give way here to a droning ambience, shifting Whirr slightly from their shoegaze core toward a dour post-rock sound. Vocalists Kristina Esfandiari and Loren Rivera keep their contributions misty and abstract, serving here as additional instruments more than messengers. But the thunderous drums and lavish guitar work remain - albeit in a colder, glassier form - making Around both a departure and a logical step forward from Whirr's previous work.