Sciflyer: The Age of Lovely, Intimate Things [Revised Edition]

Elephant Stone Records – 2016

Sciflyer’s 6-track EP, The Age of Lovely, Intimate Things [Revised Edition] is a reissue of the band’s 2005 EP of the same name, but unique in that it contains original versions of the songs that were either changed last minute (Pacific NW), or scrapped altogether (Chemical World).  It’s an album rich with crisp jangly guitars and washed-out ethereal vocals of Steve Kennedy that are more characteristic of heavy shoegaze instrumentation than lyrics.  Unlike the original, however, the lyrics are included in the liner notes.

The pop/shoegaze fusion works beautifully on opening track “The Nation”, where the guitar jangle of Kennedy and snappy drumming of Skott Bennett (for this track only, Roger Chandler handles the rest) hover above the wall of sound to give some degree of clarity to the vocals.  The eye-closer chord modulations into deep buzz-saw guitars are reminiscent of the very best of Catherine Wheel (Ferment) and were cause enough for repeat play before delving deeper into the EP.  “Pacific NW” follows very much the same formula but with more focus on the guitar progressions and the thick bass guitar chug of Kim Oberly that drives the song from its start to finish.  “Pacific NW” was stripped of vocals, shortened to the 3-minute mark and renamed “Promixa Centauri” on the original EP.

Midway through the EP, “The Same Thing Goes For Christmas” begins with a solid minute of the album’s finest guitar melody before Kennedy’s vocals very subtlety float into the background. At 6 and 1/2 minutes, it’s a song made to sit back and disappear into.

“Like An Ion” has all the makings of a great Ride song, from its energetic pace, to its catchy transitions.  That said, it’s song that would pop if the vocals were pulled out of the drone and into the forefront.  The lyrics when read are interesting, memorable, and would be perfect to sing along to, if you could only hear them.

Previously excluded from the original EP, the aptly named “Chemical World” is a fuzzed-out head-bopping trip through a haze of guitar crunch and an almost jolly bass hook as Kennedy sings “doesn’t matter if you’re high as a kite or not”….”it’s just a chemical world.”  It’s short, and sweet, and is a fitting segue for the final track “Never Come Down”, a near 14-minute epic soundscape that ends the record perfectly.

Dave MacIntyre