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Airiel: Sculpting Sonic Walls with a Deft Touch

By Tankboy in Arts & Entertainment on Aug 29, 2007 5:30PM

2007_08_airiel.gifWith a Kevin Shields-inspired, Lost In Translation-worthy intro track, Airiel's debut sets its agenda and keeps true to its promise. This band loves the wall-o-sound shoegaze of the late-'80s and early-'90s, and we love the fact they do that sound justice without resorting to sentimental trickery. Many bands have tried to tread the same path, building up walls of feedback, fuzz, and reverb to simulate the guitar crunching glories of those hazy days. Most fail, forgetting the whole concept of wrapping those raging sounds around an actual melody, and end up delivering a soupy mess that bludgeons when it should hypnotize.

Airiel makes no such missteps on The Battle Of Sealand, instead delivering track after track of entrancing rock that knows when to rage, when to envelop, and when to pull back and quietly seduce. For instance, the thundering "Thrown Idols" races along, whipping guitar strings in its trail, closing in a flurry of drums and squeals. It's followed by the chattering and tender "Sugar Crystals," all preprogrammed train-track-quick-clicks, floating synthesizer lines, and a pillow of delicate vocals. The next track is the stomping mix of the Stone Roses and Oasis-infused “You Kids Should Know Better.” And it just goes on and on like this, delivering one blissful blow after another.

The band makes these transitions with ease, displaying an impressive range in a genre that often constricts its more untalented acolytes. The band’s live show only builds upon this solid foundation, actually managing to turn up the volume without losing the plot. On-stage the band also works in tandem with Panic Films to include visuals that work to accentuate the songs in a sort of modern day Floydian UFO Club experience.

The band plays a record release show at The Empty Bottle tonight, so buy a few extra sets of ear plugs, ingest whatever it is you ingest to help maximize your concert experience (for us it’s Sparks!), and strap yourselves in for the ride.

Photo by Nikola Tamindzic /