Thursday, September 30, 2021

Punk and Shoegaze Meet On Wynona Bleach’s Superb Latest Release

Hailing from Belfast, Wynona Bleach initially enjoyed limited success as R51 before changing their name after a Russian tour. Since then, the 5-piece have gone from strength to strength and garnered a strong core following, whilst diversifying and enriching their initial shoegaze sound. 

Now, on their latest single, the raucous ‘Drag’, we find a band at the top of their game and willing to experiment. 

The opening of Wynona Bleach’s latest release is all tight drums and surf guitar riffs as it lulls the listener into a false sense of ease. 

However, the relatively chilled vibe doesn’t last long, as a cacophony of distorted and fuzzy guitars accompany the initial riff on the true, lambastic commencement of the track.  

The female vocals provided by the superb Melyssa Shannon add a 90’s pop-punk flavour to the track, as her ethereal falsetto vocals, backed up by the band behind her, create an airy quality that is of stark contrast to the heavy music it is thread through. 

As the track evolves it just from straight punk to anthemic rock as pounding drums bookend sharp lyrics on the breakdown. “She cool, she cool / Is she ever coming home?” sings Shannon, as the abstract words tell the tale of a women with genuine mystery. It’s proof again of the wonderful lyricism provided by the band, as even as the story evolves, the true desires of the protagonist are unclear, yet the warmth of the single means the listener never feels lost. 

What Wynona Bleach manage on ‘Drag’ is to create a link between punk and shoegaze that hasn’t been done as successful since the early days of the genre, with bands such as The Jesus and the Mary Chain. The ease with which they manage such a transition so smoothly is testament to not only the bands skill and musicianship, but also the genuine star quality of Shannon’s wonderful and understated vocals. 

James Ogden 

Image: ‘Drag’ Official Single Artwork 

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