Airiel: S/T (Sonicbaby Records, 2005)

by Jason

Airiel AirielAiriel continues to impress me with every release. This self-titled, self-released disc is amazingly well produced and the song writing of the band has gotten even better. There is more of a live feel on this disc and Jeremy Wrenn’s vocals have gotten better since the completion of their Winks and Kisses box set. Hailing from Chicago and now composed of Jeremy Wrenn, Cory Osborne, John Runnger, and Zeeshan Abbasi, Airiel has started to become a force in this generation of shoegaze aficionados.

This S/T work starts of with a re-recording of “500 Deep,” which was on the Dizzy EP. This version has a much more live feel and Wrenn’s vocals are much more confident than before. The drum work and bass work in the mix are stupendous and really bring the song alive. The guitars shimmer and float among the mid-tempo percussion. “Kiss Me Sadly” is a re-made version of “Kiss Me Softly,” which appeared on the Frosted EP. It begins with jangly ride and spacey, gorgeous guitar. The beat in this version is much more subdued and patient. Again, Wrenn’s vox are mature and full with a careful tempo. The guitars in this song are huge and really give it a blissed out feel. The band has definitely improved their ability in the realm of guitar tones and effects. The song plays out in a wall of sound and it’s quite the epic moment on the ep.

“World Cup” is the only completely new song on this disc. It has driving percussion, loud, aggressive walls of sound, and Wrenn’s vocals are added, but there are no lyrics. His vox really add a depth to the song amidst the soaring guitars. In the musical interlude, the guitars become more aggressive and loud with different effects that add much to the song. “Cinnamon” is a remake of a song from an out-of-print Christmas EP that Airiel put out in 2002. “Cinnamon” begins with fast, floor tom percussion and aggressive bass work. The guitars glitter and soar again. Wrenn’s and Abbassi’s guitar work is impressive and the wall of sound expansive.

This is a solid EP and will please every Airiel fan and all shoegaze fans will really dig this disc. Airiel is growing and maturing for the better. The only thing I ask is that they put out a nice, long LP of new tunes. That would make this Airiel fan very, very happy.

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