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Boomkat Product Review:
It doesn’t take long for you to realize that Belong’s latest full-length ‘Common Era’ is a shocking new direction for the New Orleans duo. ‘October Language’ was an expertly realized slice of fuzzy ambience, but within seconds of album-opener ‘Come See’ we are treated to drums, guitars and vocals; all the trappings of ‘real music’. A simple exercise in pop, however, this is not and Belong take the framework of classic shoegaze (pre ’92) and put it to work deep inside clouds of white noise and cavernous reverb. Skeletal songs and wordless vocals appear from the dense depths of blurred sound like Grouper playing Jesus and Mary Chain covers in lost cavern, a few miles of the coast. The overall sound occasionally brings to mind the early days of Factory Records, with the shimmer of The Durutti Column ever-present and stark, pounding drum machine pulsing in the background. Don’t think for a second however that ‘Common Era’ is merely an exercise in the retro-worship though, these songs are deep and memorable, haunting and strikingly melancholy. Just like My Bloody Valentine experimented with extreme distortion and degraded tape warble on ‘Loveless’, Belong have used ‘Common Era’ to similarly play with the song form. The songs sound totally enhanced by the duo’s deft treatments, and this is a rare example of how something you secretly wish would happen (drone band make pop songs, keep ‘em droney) actually happens. A gorgeous record in every sense of the word, and a daring move for a band that just keep getting better and better. Unmissably good, and a HUGE recommendation.