Take heed of this from Jesse Crowe: “We don’t want to be a ‘Shoegaze’ band anymore.”

So, don’t jump into this new album from Beliefs expecting it to be more of the same sounds that they’ve released in the past. You could be in for a jarring listen.

Habitat would not be out of place soundtracking an apocalyptic sci-fi movie. Beliefs have taken their fuzzy guitars, bass and synths to a whole new, much more experimental, universe. There is plenty of drama and moodiness packed into this album. With 11 unrelentingly dark tracks, it’s probably too heavy to listen to in one go for your average Shoegaze fan. Maybe even too heavy for Crowe and Josh Korody, having written a large majority of the album in just four days – and actually having written it together for the first time. It’s certainly efficient, and the short amount of time might explain the soundtrack aspect to it. The whole album seems to weave together, with each song being just the next chapter in a very dramatic story.

From “Anti” to “Catholic Guilt”, they seem to be playing with a religious motif heard in the monotonous chanting, the indistinguishable and gender-neutral vocals. Mid-way through the album, “Comb” sums up the unrelenting nature of Habitat. It’s a little over two minutes of slowly intensifying synths that has no satisfying ending, before dropping unsettlingly into “All Things Considered”, which is as melodic as Habitat gets. It’s a nice breather, before heading straight back into the darkness on “Anti”.

Listen for the unique outros that they’ve ended many of their tracks with. “Anti” fades out from a high-pitched note. “1994” ends with a swirling mechanical energy. But they’ve saved the best outro for last. “Shadow of the Sun” which, going along with the religious (or anti-religious) theme, is very reminiscent of The Smiths cover of “How Soon is Now?” by Love Spit Love, with its high-pitched whirring and eerie nature. You can really hear the wall-of-sound influence here. The track spends half the song building itself into a frenzy before screaming its way out, spending over a minute finally dropping into silence, and completing the album.

Habitat will be released on September 22nd via Hand Drawn Dracula.  Pre-order vinyl, CD, or cassette HERE.

Jane Liang

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