Abby Go Go – s/t

Abby Go Go - s/t

Sometimes a band presents itself with plentiful info, biography, lists of influences and assorted background facts and figures, but there’s a definite air of, if not exactly anonymity, a notion that Abby Go Go would like to keep at least some of their inspirations to themselves. I won’t suggest that there are any deeply rooted reasons for this, only that the Atlanta based band seem to prefer that their music does the talking for them, or something. And while silence can often speak volumes, Abby Go Go’s self titled eight track debut album is anything but audibly restrained.

As far as it goes nowadays, the occasionally maligned genre of Dreampop consistently refuses to roll over and gasp its last. Quite the opposite in fact, as the lineal descendants of the most influential late 80s bands whose work shaped this style of music – Ride, Slowdive, MBV and their earlier antecedents the Psychedelic Furs and Echo & The Bunnymen continue to produce music that transcends its origins and, quite spectacularly in the case of Abby Go Go, brings entirely new aspects to this musical style, combining as they do a near lethal mixture of committed musicianship, skillful songwriting and some artfully inventive production. The first Abby Go Go album is, if you consider yourself an acolyte of the Dreampop world, a must hear.

The eight songs that make up the album clock in at over forty minutes. Opener “Louder Than Dreams” is a relatively uncomplicated tune given added impetus with some flanged guitars accompanied by some noticeably inventive drumming. The albums shortest track but a prescient intro for the laidback “The Last Song”, which begins around an acoustic riff that gains momentum when overlaid with some sharply turned out lead guitar. It’s something of an Abby Go Go trademark, starting (relatively) quietly and building the song to a crescendo of sorts, while the vocals are of the throwaway variety instantly recognisable to psyche-pop enthusiasts the world over. Abby Go Go are making every note count, and “Torpedo”, the first of the longer album numbers seems a combination of jittery six string repetition and solitary voice, bursting into life after a two minute extended intro. It seems as if the band are holding back on both their songs and instrumentation at this point, there’s definitely more expansive soundscaping at their disposal, but also ‘Torpedo’ is a tightly controlled exercise that introduces that more expansive side of Abby Go Go’s sound, and which characterises the rest of the album.

“Guitar #0” has the band loosing their hold on their songs. A soaring keyboard led tune breaks into a mathrock midsection. The measured time signatures of “Feelin’ Slow” and the slower, deeper tones of “Sweet Sweet” highlight a diverse approach to songwriting – the first a summery pop anthem, the second a noir-ish ballad based around a repetitive two chord riff that’s effectively overtaken by a keening lead riff. “Come On” is the nearest Abby Go Go get to actual country rock with the guitars taking on a twelve string resonance and an edgy lyric : ‘too late to change the plans we made / and everybody’s on the run’, it’s possibly the album highlight. Final song “Glass” has some similarity to the preceding track, but its unhurried rhythm is interspersed with some grinding distortion that has the track resembling the sound of two bands playing simultaneously. It is a fittingly epic finale to what is a melodic and inspired song collection.

What carries over most effectively across the eight songs is Abby Go Go’s quite real enthusiasm for their music, which is also reflected in the skill that’s gone into the album production which utilises phasing and reverb in large if not overwhelming quantities that never detract from either the songs or musicianship. It is a very well, perhaps even reverently put together piece of work that is very much more than the sum of its parts and influences, and in all probability the best album of its kind I’ve heard this year. Play loud.

Double Phantom