Emerald Down

  • Emerald Down
  • Scream the Sound (POPsound) 2001 
  • Aquarium EP (Honest in Secret) 2002 

It’s probably a critical no-no to encourage devotion to slavishly re-creating a predecessor’s sound, but the Emerald Down does such an uncanny impersonation of Slowdive’s early years that complaint seems futile. The Columbus, Ohio quartet excels at creating the same majestic towers of cumulonimbus guitar noise, light and airy enough to drift through the stratosphere but packing enough thunder to rattle the house down around you. Scream the Sound’s opening track “Caught a Wave” (the title of which recalls Just for a Day’s “Catch the Breeze” and “Waves”; if you’re going to pay tribute, why be subtle about it?) sets the template with guitar squalls that swirl around a simple melody and nearly subliminal vocals for several minutes until that storm peters out and another begins. The rest of the album similarly redoes random moments from Just for a Day and Souvlaki. Listeners looking for a band with bold new ideas and a creative direction of its own should stay away, but listeners who wish the sounds of 1992 had never faded out will fine Scream the Sound heaven.

[Brad Reno]