Straight out of the quaint metropolis of Earth, Texas, Saint Marie Records offers the new four-song EP Vampires from Hamburg, Germany shoegaze/alterna-dream-rockers Seasurfer. Did you follow that? Just introducing the band leaves you a tad seasick.
What Vampires accomplishes is the proverbial checking off the genre boxes. It feels a little like Slowdive and Ride, and a little like My Blooody Valentine, dreamy and damp and bloody on the swollen lips and, as described earlier, seasick. One merely glances off the bow of the opening track and the gray waters that lay before you are rough and disconcerting but become, in true shoegaze form, a bleak invitation to jump.
What the album doesn’t do is advance the genre.
“Into Dust” opens on a drab, alterna-rock introduction that feels out of character before kicking down into the miasma of rather ordinary dream rock and the hypno-pop sound that permeates the rest of the record. “The Calling” is the EP’s best track, full of hypnotic lulls and blow-you-away revelry, but the other two songs come across as plain. “Sad Song” feels like the refugee of a Cure album (thankfully, an early Cure album) and hardly distinguishes itself. I mean, dream-pop/rock aspires to a emulate a remarkable dream, the one you wake out of bed clamoring to either escape or tell someone else. This record isn’t either one of those dreams. It’s a dream you recall while watching the cream swirl in the coffee and forget after putting jam on the toast.
Shoegaze has been around for a long time. It then stands to reason that as long as shoegaze is a thing, there will be utterly, plainly competent records like this one.