By P.M. Goerner | 6 July 2012
In honor of the recent anniversary of my great ancestors’ absolutely undeniable, personal winning of The War of British Aggression, San Francisco’s Whirr get me in the mood to take on what I’d consider to be a timeless (American time, that is) comparison. It’s interesting to think that all of the shoegaze greats—My Bloody Valentine, Slowdive, Ride, hell, even the Jesus and Mary Chain—were all Brits or Scots. But I’m here to rally the troops around some old-fashioned American battle cries like “Long live the Swirlies!” and “Yeah…yeah! I, uh, kinda remember the Lilys, too!” And thankfully, I get the feeling that Whirr are going to be quick to heed that call.
Whirr’s recently re-issued debut EP, the deceptively titled Distressor, originally landed under the close-call moniker Whirl, with a very limited pressing. But the transformed and no doubt battle-weary Whirr, which features Deafheaven’s Nick Bassett on guitar to some satisfyingly predictable aesthetic result, have continued to forge not only international camaraderie, but some rather intriguing independence of their own out of the frayed edges and jagged textures that originally set the American shoegaze sounds apart from their European precedents. It’s a sound that seems to cut a little more harshly than the comparably polite, foggy wash from over the water, feels a little more unkempt and uncertain, a little more teenage-melodramatic maybe. There’s a kind of lonely, unromantic energy that’s just endlessly endearing.
So nothing against the greats, but Whirr remind me in their own amiable way that it’s nice to have a little something to show off in return, something that deserves its own credit in the lineage. Add to that the fact that this reissue has rolled out on Savannah, Georgia’s collector vinyl freakout factory Graveface Records, on “hot pink/highlighter yellow/orange crush tri-colored vinyl,” and I’ve officially got myself a belated Independence Day present I won’t be able to resist.