Whirr and Nothing have perhaps released one of the best split records of the year. Formed in 2010 by Nick Bassett (guitarist for Deafheaven and also part of Nothing), Whirr focus on the shoegaze fuzz set by giants like My Bloody Valentine and Slowdive with a heavy heart. Their darker, more distorted vision of shoegaze sits perfectly beside Nothing’s cleaner, math-rock approach which hints towards frontman’s former hardcore intensity from his time in Horror Show.
While both bands are fresh from releasing records this year; Whirr’s Sway in September and Nothing’s debut Guilty Of Everything earlier on in the year, each band have released two new songs on this split that, despite not being released until November 17th (on Run For Cover Records), they’ve caused a huge stir of interest between fans.
The opening track “Ease” on the Whirr side opens with Whirr’s trademark distorted beauty in the guitarwork that Sway has quickly become a billowing alt-rock favourite of the 21st century. Lacking the intensity of the opening track, Whirr’s second song “Lean” is more melodious and yet drags you further into the acid fantasy world their music creates.
With female vocalist Loren Rivera having left Whirr before the recording of their sophomore album, the now all-male vocals on “Ease” and “Lean” are perfected into enchanting drones that reminds me of the classic album Souvlaki by Slowdive.
However, it is Nothing’s opening track “Chloroform” that steals the show. Sleek and shining, Nothing might be seen as having a heavy dream-pop coating over a heart of wild fervour in the writhing chorus that will go down well in a live performance.
The last song of the record. Nothing’s “July the Fourth” has a more ambitious sound than its predecessor; hopefully a nod to where a second album might head. It’s a song that contains atmosphere as much as it’s secluded. When it fades out, the pressure to hit the replay button cannot be supressed.
Their music may not have been out of place in 90’s rock, but it’s evident that this new style of imperfect, airy alt-rock is going to become popular by demand. Bands like Whirr and Nothing are going to head the charge.