Instead of using it for chillwave or dream-pop, The Morning After Girls go back to 1991 and stomp their pedals to make shoegaze. They do a good job of modernizing the sound; it’s not the genre that’s off-putting about “Alone.”
The band cleans up several of the trademark moves of shoegaze for a modern audience: the guitars, while still loud and reverb-heavy, have a much more direct tone than often heard in shoegaze. It’s loud and hazy, but it’s not just one big sheet of distortion (à la Jesus and Mary Chain). They even introduce an acoustic guitar as an important player in their sound. The vocals, which traditionally were buried in the mix, cut through the sound with few effects. It’s a solid sound that doesn’t ring dated.
The problem is that the songs just don’t stick. No matter the genre, there’s got to be something to take away from the album. For whatever reason, I can’t get these tracks to imprint on my brain in any meaningful way. There’s nothing wrong with the tunes — they’re just average. They are nice while I’m hearing them, but I have no desire to hear them again after I’ve moved on.
This may be in part to the moods that the band tried to channel: It made it clear that the songs were written to evoke the emotions associated with being alone. The songs are far noisier and faster than what I usually associate with loneliness, but some of my discomfort may be from picking up on the forlorn, claustrophobic feel of being by yourself.
The Morning After Girls’ sound is a solid reworking of a lost genre, but the songs are a tad off-putting. If you’re a real big fan of the reverb revival, I’d pick this up; otherwise, I’d look into Exit Calm for your reverb rocking. — Stephen Carradini