Pale Dian

Narrow Birth (Manifesto)

Texas Platters

Evolving out of North Texas's Blackstone Rangers, Austin trio Pale Dian indulges a fetish for British underground sounds on debut Narrow Birth. The opening "Intro" starts with an old-fashioned drum machine, an electronic pulse, and programmer Ruth Ellen Smith's detached coo. Soon enough, dirty guitar feedback clouds the issue, Derek Kutzer sending a sonic Valentine to the Thatcher years. "Evan Evan" and "Feral Bloom" follow suit, British dance rock invading by a noise-mongering six-string shimmer. Smith, Kutzer, and bassist Nicholas Volpe explore variations on this formula: more electronics here ("The Avenue"), more fuzz there ("Lonesome Waste"), even forays into glimmer pop ("Diana"). The balance of club-ready beats and shoegaze guitar squall never reaches the level of expert practitioners such as Curve, and the seams sometimes show. Yet Narrow Birth reveals potential to make this noise the band's own. (CD release: Fri., June 3, Swan Dive)

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