MASCARA- ‘Cameo Blue Estate’

Quite something, this. Each of the four tracks on ‘Cameo Blue Estate’ sounds better than the one before it. And that’s not because French four-piece Mascara start off on the wrong foot or anything. Opener ‘Concrete/Surface’ goes from a chunky, swirling riff to satisfying alt rock stomp with ease, and if it loses some momentum when the distorted guitars drop away completely, it gains a ton of atmosphere. Yes, Mascara are another heavy shoegaze outfit, but they play with plenty of unique touches, balance, and natural flair too. There’s the grungy soundscapes of ‘Innervisions’, over seven minutes long but never once dragging, the powerful ‘Reach’, which has both a guitar solo and enough crunchy intensity to convince me that this band is named after the Deftones song, and the dreamy ‘Night Ruined’. The latter might be the best of the bunch, featuring a shifting mix of tempos and textures, clever uses of feedback and delay, and vocals, suitably underwater-sounding everywhere else, that suddenly become clear. And for something so dense and heavy, this record absolutely breezes past. Mascara’s last EP was good but ‘Cameo Blue Estate’ excels. Quite something.

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