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Boy King Islandsis a collaborative project with friends Jason Hunt and Zachary Mastoon. Together, they have three albums under their belt, with White Mirror being their latest. The album has had some buzz surrounding it, dating back to last year when the duo took to Kickstarter to fund its recording and physical release.
The album’s unique jazz infused shoegaze is on full display a few chords into the cosmic sounding opener, “Constellation”. Warm reverb-y chords bounce around with soaring saxophones softly hum in. The track picks up the tempo as funked out bass riffs and drum in. It’s not your typical Loveless inspired shoegaze with a thick hazy wall of sound, as the band opts for low-end heavy bass and tenor saxophones. The band doesn’t totally abandon that classic shoegaze sound, as it gets kicked around on tracks like “Twin Flames” and “Mistakes To Learn”. “Twin Flames” sounds like an outlier with it being the most aggressive sounding track on the record with its intermittent bursts of fuzz heavy riffs. Bassist Thundercats, known for his frequent collaborations with Flying Lotus and his work on To Pimp A Butterfly, sounds like he had his hands in this records cool cosmic aesthetics. The bass riffs on this record are so breezy and cool such as on tracks like “Held” and the jangled bossanova track “Say It’s Home”. The orchestral backing on some of the tracks is a nice touch as I thought it enhanced the cosmic theme that the record was pushing.
Recently I heard someone say that shoegaze is “like jazz”, but it was a testament to lackluster commercial appeal it had during the 90’s. But I was reminded of that comparison when listening to White Mirror, which had instrumentation that I’ve never really heard on a shoegaze record. Jazz had its cool fingerprints all over this record, and its ready to take its listeners on a cosmic journey.