Scuba: S/T

SCUBA: S/TScuba

Self-titled

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Like The Beatings, Scuba exist to invoke (and improve on) some of the most revered sounds of the past thirty years or so. But where The Beatings draw on The Pixies, Mission of Burma and Sonic Youth, Scuba are best described as – get this – shoegazer revivalists.

Shoegazer! When’s the last time you thought about that word? For me it must have been back in college in Ohio in the mid-1990s, hepped up on Mickey’s Big Mouths, listening to My Bloody Valentine and Dinosaur Jr., and leaving the room every time anyone put on anything by the execrable Sebadoh. Remember when The Jesus and Mary Chain were on Lollapalooza? When The Cure were having hits? When Bob Mould was releasing records as Sugar and even got on the radio? I sure do! And I loved it!

But it’s both condescending and limiting to describe a band as solely the sum of their influences. On their website, Scuba themselves acknowledge their fuzzy and moody pop roots, saying “We’re not a shoe-gazer band. Though we look at a lot of things apparently our shoes are not one of them. Or rather they’re not looked at for long enough to become a quote-unquote ‘gaze’ unquote.”

Okay, so fair enough. “Shoegazer” implies that Scuba are a tribute band, which isn’t correct. So what’s the deal with Scuba? Well, the fuzzy guitars and washes of noise aside, they play sumptuous and hypnotic power pop that delivers on what Neil Young said about Crazy Horse, his backing band: “It’s all one big, growing, smoldering sound, and I’m part of it. It’s like gliding, or some sort of natural surfing.” Although you can name check great bands of the past one after another as the songs pass by (right now I’m listening to the leadoff single “Gary Powers’ Spy Plane” and dreaming of Boston’s late lamented The Sheila Divine), the truth is the songwriting is strong and original and more than the sum of its (My Bloody Valentine, Joy Division, New Order, Sugar, Jesus and Mary Chain, The Cure) worthy influences.

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John Owen, Blogcritics

MDRF010 | May 2007 | 34:33 | Full Length CD
SONG TITLE DURATION LISTEN
01. You Break My Heart in 1000 Different Ways 3:38
02. Gary Powers’ Spy Plane 4:40
03. Fish with Some Lixxx 3:10
04. Freight 4:14
05. Treat 2:53
06. Maybe it’s Different with Johnny 4:32
07. Into the Water, Down to the Bottom 4:28
08. Hate it When You Laugh 2:11
09. King of Infinite Space 4:54