Film School

Film School (Beggars Banquet)

SXSW Records

Film School

(Beggars Banquet)

With their first "proper" release, Film School finally tear off the "shoegaze" tag that's dogged them from the beginning like toilet paper on their shoes. The San Francisco quintet's four-song EP, Alwaysnever, and 2001 LP Brilliant Career were both hit or miss, combining the band's talent for beautiful, serpentine sounds with a spotty bedroom recording aesthetic. Production-wise, they've come out of the red on their Beggars Banquet debut, opener "On & On" darting and swirling under Justin LaBo's barely controlled bass plucking, while the ebullient vibes of "Harmed" and the bass-heavy waves of "Pitfalls" spotlight their crystalline love of loud-quiet-loud. "Breet" is indecipherable from much of the Brit-biting bluster of the day, with singer Krayg Burton's vocals aping Robert Smith, and the soundscape of "Garrison" smells like filler. By contrast, the group's dreamy bells and whistles have never sounded as clear as on dancey "11:11," the piercing treble of "He's a Deep, Deep Lake," and chiming feedback standout "Sick of the Shame," which sounds like nothing else on the album. It's gnarled, slow-core roots like those that keep Film School firmly planted, no longer gazing. (Thursday, March 16, 9pm @ Club de Ville)

***

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