Audio Mixers: Gary Olson ; Jordan Romero.
Recording information: Baltimore, MD; Marlborough Farms, NYC.
After already releasing one really good neo-shoegaze album in 2015 on Deranged Records called Sleep Through It, the Baltimore quintet Wildhoney jumped to the '90s-loving Topshelf label for an EP. Released later in the year, Your Face Sideways is another step in the band's progression from punk-inspired noise pop to full dream pop/shoegaze, where melody is on par with noise and the hooks are as vital as the pedals. Part of it is bringing Lauren Shusterich's vocals up in the mix, some of it is dialing down the guitar tandem of Joe Trainor and Marybeth Mareski, the rest is writing songs that could be played on ukuleles instead of distortion-wracked guitars and still sound good. Thanks to Gary Olson (of Ladybug Transistor) and his nimble production skills, this is their fullest, clearest release yet. The five songs on the A-side of the EP come through sounding as dream-like as early Lush and as powerful as Ride at their peak. The flipside is a different story as it explores the band's more experimental bent with a 12-minute noise drone "FSA II," which is a sequel to Sleep Through It's "FSA" and incorporates glockenspiel, flute, synths, and field recordings into the hypnotic mix. The two sides of the band fit together well, and though it's short, Your Face Sideways is the band's most satisfying release to date. It also serves notice that they should be included in any discussion of the best shoegaze bands of their era. ~ Tim Sendra