Updated: Jun 21
Artist: Lo! Peninsula
Length: 4 mins 36 secs
Release date: 29th July, 2017
"The shadows on the walls don't recognize me anymore. I wish I could pretend that everything's gonna be alright."
The above lines might sound like a fragment of Alan Watts, but it is not. It is an excerpt from the lyrics written by the shoegaze rock trio Lo! Peninsula. The trio consisting of Nitin Samurailatpam on vocals and lead guitar, Avinash Thokchom on bass and Jyotin Elangbam on drums, is based in Imphal.
The current indie music scene in Manipur, ranging from small music projects upto frequent café gigs, is quite intriguing. A back-to-roots ethos revolves around the hype and acts as a portal to explore the culture of the state and it's configuration to suit the penetrating wave of western guitar music. Solo artists and group acts often induldge themsleves in non-mainstream genres like folk-revival, contemporary music and indie rock.
Considering the big picture, there are some music genres around the world which are relatively unknown to the mass audience and also having only minimal amount of artists who venture on them. This includes genres like ambience, space rock, avant garde, art rock, and of course shoegaze, too. Shoegaze is a tributary of indie rock whose course runs somewhere between alternative rock and neo-psychedelia.
Characterised by the heavy use of effect pedals and deliberate blurring of musical components, shoegaze was popular among the wave of bands arising from the suburbs of Britain in the early 90's. This genre flourished for a limited period of time after being over-shadowed by the mainstream britpop bands. Just like how nature finds a way to enter an isolated area and introduce new species, the evolving sonic pattern of the world finds a way to evoke the rare shoegaze vibes in Manipur also, penetrating the nine hill ranges. Thus, Lo! Peninsula, Manipur's first shoegaze rock band was formed in the early months of 2017.
They released their debut single titled Chasing Tidal Waves via Youtube and Soundcloud on the 29th of July. It garnered 1.6K views on Youtube in just 3 weeks after release. The song length is a moderate 4 minutes and 36 seconds, which is relatively short for a shoegaze song to express the hazy feels. Like a congruous mash-up of tracks from The Verve's Urban Hymns with Slowdive's Souvlaki Space Station, the single has the traditional vibe of a britpop song mixed with the blurry signal of a typical dream-pop sound. The song opens with an ambient intro in the form of an up-building crescendo which is to be met with the consistent drumbeats of the song. Then comes the cascading guitar plucking which serves as the trademark of the song. The intro guitar lasts upto 00:50 and introduces the overall aesthetics. The verse starts with the soothing vocals to deliver the feel of loss and melancholy with the right emotions. The tenor vocal is perfect in making the chorus an earworm. After the upbeat chorus and the second verse, comes the most interesting section the song has to offer, a sound which resembles the actual tidal waves of a sea washing up to a rocky shore. The sound gets lower and elevates simultaneously, depicting an advancing tidal wave to the listener. It gradually mixes with an indistinct vocal humming.
Then, the song keeps up with the literal meaning when a guitar trance of alternate picking is introduced and the tidal sound fades away gradually, which implies to the "chasing away" of tidal waves. The trance serves as the guitar solo of the song. Then, the guitar intro resurfaces, unveiling the sparse drums and the underlying bassline.
The bassline is addictive and really adds to the sonic depth. The song itself is a wash of sound. The enchanting guitars, nostalgiac ambience, consistent drums, addictive bassline, strong vocals and above all, the melancholic lyrics make the song an experience of a beautiful white noise that is too pure and unadultrated to withstand.
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