Release Date: 06/11/20
Record Label: Small Pond Records
For Fans Of: My Bloody Valentine, Pixies, Cultdreams
Dublin trio Bitch Falcon have been kicking around their native Ireland and the UK since 2014 building a steady level of hype and excitement. After six years, a few line-up changes, and masses of touring experience under their belts, the band are finally ready to formally reveal themselves to the world at large with debut Staring at Clocks.
It’s clear that the time Bitch Falcon have taken to record their first album has paid off as they really have nailed down a sound which will make them stand out, blending together elements of dream-pop and shoegaze with some heavy flourishes. There is a definite push and pull effect going on between Lizzie Fitzpatrick’s ethereal guitar work and vocals and the pounding bass of Barry O’Sullivan that is best heard in the title track. However unlike some other artists that employ a similar trick, it always feels like everything is still working in tandem and moving in the same direction at the same time. A huge amount of restraint is shown where instead of building towards a big release with massive hooks like you might be expecting, the band offer something that is a little subtler and more concerned with creating the kind of lushious soundscapes best heard on ‘Sold Youth’ and ‘Turned To Gold’. The later of which gives off massive The Cure vibes with its dreamy but bouncy intro before slowly warping into an almost psychedelic crescendo.
Despite predominantly leaning towards those dreamy soundscapes there are times where Bitch Falcon tap into a little more punk energy such as ‘Damp Breath’ and ‘Martyr’ where Fitzpatrick’s vocals become a little more frenzied and the reverb on the guitars is replaced with some fuzzed up distortion. These moments help to break up the record really well and show another side to the band as well as providing some release after all patient build-up work going on around them. Closing track ‘Harvester’, is where the real potential that Bitch Falcon have comes into view though as the band combine both of these sides to create a proggy, shoegaze epic which slowly descends into a chaotic wall of sound and wailing feedback. The track is definitely the highlight of the record and provides the best example of everything that Bitch Falcon do so well, from the quiet-loud dynamic, to the instrumental interplay to the patient restraint squeezing every drop of tension out of every note before hitting you with the big ending.
Staring At Clocks can be a deceptively difficult record at times, despite those lush soundscape being tailor made for something a little poppier or instantaneous, Bitch Falcon make the brave decision to instead focus on creating something a little more atmospheric. While there are still numerous hooks and memorable moments to be found, these are usually provided through small riffs or key changes rather than big vocal melodies. You can also hear the amount of work that has gone into creating Bitch Falcon’s unique sound and although it doesn’t quite reach the levels to match the initial hype, it has given them an instant identity to build from. If you are looking for an album to lose yourself in this Autumn, Staring At Clocks offers a wonderful escape.
Recommended Tracks: ‘Turned To Gold’, ‘Damp Breath’, ‘Harvester’