Wikipedia has this to say about the genre that is Shoegaze “Shoegaze is a subgenre of alternative rock that emerged from the United Kingdom in the late 1980s and reached peak popularity in the early 1990s. The style is typified by significant use of distortion, feedback, obscured vocals and the blurring of component musical parts into indistinguishable “walls of sound”. 

The term “shoegazing” was initially devised by the British music press as a gibe meant to ridicule the stage presence of a wave of groups who stood still during live performances in a detached, introspective, non-confrontational state, often with their heads down; the heavy use of effects pedals also contributed to the image of performers looking down at their feet during concerts.”..so now you know!SHOEGAZE_Review_image

The whole movement sort of passed me by first time round, but then listening through this album I realise that, despite being in full on house and techno mode for the whole of this period, I must have been a bit of an unwitting fan of the genre as I had a good few records by bands on this album. House Of Love, Cocteau Twins, Spacemen 3, Loop, Pale Saints, Slowdive and more were in my collection, and some still are. This is Sunday afternoon comedown music of the highest order and I guess this is where I was first made aware of it.

Still In A Dream is out the 29th January on Cherry Red and it represents an absolutely superb introduction to the Dream Pop scene, spread as it is over five CDs. Musically you get a distinctly indie, melancholy, psychedelic, and I would argue British sound that crossed the pond and spawned a whole host of acts. The first disc has your classic and inspirational bands from the UK, with later discs taking in a wider collection of groups.

Along with the five CDs you get a book with loads of memorabilia from the scene along with 12 000 words of notes and biographies from Neil Taylor.

It’s easy to look at this kind of collection as little more than a nostalgic trip down a not too distant memory lane, and it is to an extent! However, Still In A Dream highlights that Shoegaze, Dream Pop (call it what you will) represented credible musicians, creating art that is still pertinent today. Take a listen to many of the 82 tunes on this series of discs and yes, you’re transported back to a downhearted and contemplative yesteryear, but by the same token this is real and creative music that is still eminently listenable today.

Very highly recommended and a series of discs that will get a lot of play here!

Stuart Smith

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