BILINDA BUTCHER & KEVIN SHIELDS

Australian Guitar - - Feature -

If you were to credit any one band for cre­at­ing shoegaze – or nu-gaze, dream­pop, or what­ever the hell de­fines a huge wall of gui­tar ef­fects where in­di­vid­ual el­e­ments like ‘dis­tor­tion’ or ‘re­verb’ no longer have any mean­ing – it would be Ire­land’s finest ex­po­nents of sheer tooth-rat­tling vol­ume. Sure, their early records owe a trans­par­ent debt to Sonic Youth (the holo­caust break in “You Made Me Re­alise” is pure Thurston Moore and Lee Re­naldo pre-Gef­fen chaos), but by the time they started their no­to­ri­ously epic, Cre­ation Records-bankrupt­ing work on what was to be­come their mag­num opus, 1989’s Love­less, they had be­come some­thing truly unique.

Butcher’s mu­si­cal con­tri­bu­tions to the al­bum were min­i­mal – this was Shields’ baby from the out­set, for all three years it took to make the thing – but that bi­tu­men-thick gui­tar tone, made al­most en­tirely of over­driven amps pushed to their ca­pac­ity, and es­pe­cially Shields’ sea­sick-in­duc­ing use of tremelo (lis­ten to “Soon”, where he and Butcher play pretty much the same chords, but Shields swoops up­ward to each one). Ev­ery wall-of-noise band owes them a debt.

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