Royal Canoe is best compared to a looking glass that conjures up strange, smoky visions …
Israeli shoegaze band Vaadat Charigim returns this month with their second record, Sinking As A Stone, and it finds the trio doubling down on their classic early ‘90s sound while shedding the more contemporary leanings of their first album. Their dedication and skill at sounding as vintage dream-pop as they can is both the record’s biggest strength, and it’s greatest weakness. For instance, the album’s two advance singles, “Hashiamum Shokea” and “Ein Li Makom” sound exactly like Ride, and I mean exactly. That same bombastic shimmer that is pervasive on Ride’s classic 1990 record Nowhere, as well as the swirling atmospherics present on one of the genre’s other high water marks, Slowdive’s Souvlaki, are essentially the framework that Vaadat Charigim uses for most of Sinking’s running time. Is this a bad thing? Not necessarily, they do an astonishingly convincing and laudable job at conjuring those elements from the influences they are indebted to, but at the same time, it does neither the past or present artist a favor by simply lifting the sound without updating it. That being said, it is refreshing to hear a new group drawing from the hard-rocking end of the shoegaze spectrum, rather than yet another of the MBV devotees that seem to represent the majority of nu-gazers.
Despite my reservations on their apparent devotion to shoegaze, there is no denying that Vaadat Charigim’s collective musicianship on Sinking is impressive. Thick sheets of razor-wire guitar layered over heavy, nimble drumming make the album’s seven songs crackle with energy, and Yuval Haring’s vocals drone with digital effects staying just barely audible above the mix in keeping with the genre’s traditions. What’s ultimately disappointing is that this album by a talented rock band, from a part of the globe that’s not known for rock music, is mostly a showcase for a genre that hasn’t been relevant for about 25 years rather than drawing attention to the current scene that they’re born out of. Vaadat clearly have the chops to make compelling rock music, I just hope that on their next record they find a way to show us who they really are. »
Vaadat Charigim plays Bunk Bar with Psychomagic 5/18, get tickets right here.
– Casey Hardmeyer