May 4, 2010

The Ecstasy of St Theresa. Susurrate.

Inspired by the divinely orgasmic states (in which she was bodily pierced by a flaming spear) described by the 16th century mystic nun, The Ecstasy of St Theresa take their namesake to heart, attempting either to replicate that holy delirium or inspire it through clouds of angelic vocals dissolving in a volcanic barrage of tremoloed guitars.

Apparently, they’ve long since switched to an ambient/techno sound, but in early 1992, they were reinterpreting Isn’t Anything era MBV as a Dvorakian noise symphony. As possibly the only shoegaze band in Czechoslovakia, The Ecstasy of St Theresa received what little attention they did after recording a session for the omnipresent John Peel. Even that didn’t translate into much success, and this album sank without a trace only to be rescued from obscurity nearly a decade later by the indispensable Clairecords.

Aside from the obligatory MBV references, The Ecstasy of St Theresa share plenty of DNA with Dinosaur Jr. and Catherine Wheel—pitching their blurred, thundering songs down a wind-tunnel of melodic, emotional shifts. They’re drowning you in sound, but they always keep their ear on the “big moment”, finally climaxing with the reckless, free-form maelstrom of Absinth. It may not be the most innovative or original recording of the shoegaze era, but it’s definitely a classic example of everything that so often made the genre so transcendently great.


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