JEMEZ “Jemez” (self-released)

If I were to paint shoegaze by numbers, the colors would be represented by the letters “J,” “E,” “M,” “E” (yes, again, it’s a subtly different “E”), and “Z,” which spells Jemez, duh, pronounced “Jeemz.” Just kidding, it’s “HAY-mez,” so I’m told on the Bandcamp page. As I faint with damning praise, I implore you not to misunderstand the “painting by numbers” aspect of my reaction as a real criticism. See, it’s really hard to pull off anything terribly innovative in the whole shoegaze spectrum, and Jemez at least has the overdriven and tense guitar thing down. It’s certainly not unpleasant, and the noise quotient is sure to entice even the casual fan. But there it is, a curio within the genre, an equation that can be written x = Morella’s Forest + “Summer Babe,” where you can solve for x if you want, but you don’t need to. Just relax and enjoy it. Or pull out your older, better shoegaze records and enjoy them instead. Jemez will at least wet your whistle.

-- Ryan Masteller