San Francisco's Film School are a band built around frontman Greg Bertens. Formed in the late 1990's, Bertens has recruited members and slowly put out albums and EPs before signing to Beggars and becoming a more permanent band. This album sees a few line up changes - most notably the addition of female bassist/vocalist Lorelei Plotczyk who answered a Pixies-aping personal for "Someone into Husker Du and Peter, Paul and Mary".
Swirlies, Seefeel and Bardo Pond are the name checks on this album though, and while Film School's live show and previous album had me thinking of The Cure, Hideout owes more that a passing nod to the brilliance/pretentiousness of My Bloody Valentine. Hardly surprising due to the fact that MBV's Colm O'Ciosoig appears on the album.
Opener Dear Me and follow-up Lectric set the scene perfectly, with a wall of sound that builds and builds with pounding drums. Produced by frontman Bertens and Mixed by Phil Ek (Band of Horses, Stephen Malkmus, The Shins) the album is a huge leap forward from 2006's self-title album, which confusingly was their second. Rich and textured, the records feels like a lot of time, love and attention has been put into it. The effects are set to stun and while on several occasions things look like they are going to drift away, the sonic theatrics are kept in manageable chunks and the album remains strong and focused without the directionless ramblings that MBV had a taste for. While the admittedly Cure sounding Two Kinds, with it's bass and 80's John Hughes keyboard sound starts promisingly, it's doesn't quite deliver but tracks like the juggernaut sound of Sick Hipster Nursed By Suicide Girl swirl up a pummeling sound that builds up to a crashing drum finale.
All music has a nod in one direction or another, and shoegazing is a direction that gets little attention in these skinny jeans obsessed days. In my book it would be more than welcome to mooch back into the limelight.