Canadian duo Josh Korody and Jesse Crowe – better known as Beliefs – have revitalisied the shoegaze outbreak of the 90s with dreamy reverb and airy fuzz on their second album Leaper. Drawing on their love for bands like My Bloody Valentine and Sonic Youth this is a recording that encompasses the cool aspects of the peppy genre but often lacks any catchy elements in their tracks to make them memorable.
The album is noisy; the effects are amped up and the vocals so low in the mix they’re almost inaudible. The band’s influences are obvious but in their excitement they’ve overdone it and the loudness does nothing to deter from the simplicity of the tunes. It’s the distorted production that makes Leaper feel like Beliefs have kept their distance from what it is to be shoegaze.
Opening track Tidal Wave smacks you with an insanely tinny percussion line and lazy guitars that warp in and out of focus and leveled only as the husky whispers of Korody and Crowe flutter on. Bleak hope penetrates the ruckus in current single 1992 with catchy poetic melodies that are reminiscent of early Smashing Pumpkins tracks. If the guitars and drums were whittled down even a little on the closing track Swooner, the fresh sound that comes disappointingly late would allow the listeners to experience that spark of potential and the obvious passion that Beliefs have for reviving this genre; they’re hesitant to push the boundaries and go all out.
For a group prolific in their own right and who have been privileged enough to share stages with bands like The Breeders, Toy and Moon Duo, you would have hoped they would have embraced their musical knowledge to produce a record that would instill confidence in the listeners that Beliefs understand the unique elements of their beloved 90s. Unfortunately Leaper just doesn’t do that.