by Jordan Reyes (@jpreyes90)
On Mascot, the Kiev-based trio Bichkraft spun a story of dystopian decay and martial chaos - one part Suicide, one part Spacemen 3, one part 39 Clocks. Shadoof, the band’s second LP in as many years, is a disquieting, throbbing indulgence, but one that lacks the previous effort’s claustrophobia. It’s not necessarily a sea change, but it is a metamorphosis. Rather than keeping to plodding proto-industrial rock, Bichkraft turns to psychedelic shoegaze, louder, clearer, and with more complex songwriting.
Shadoof ups the stakes on each conceivable level, crafting a more grand, danceable collection of songs, which makes sense, considering the band built its own studio - allegedly using broken classical LPs, discarded winter coats, and Soviet era refrigerators in and from a debris-filled lot - to record the new album. While the studio’s physical content seems to have been birthed from garbage, and while the record’s thematic content is inspired by the archetypal wasteland, there isn’t a second of wasted time on the LP. Across Shadoof’s hypnotic thirty-five or so minutes, the band stretches its expansive sound to embrace elements of pop, new wave, techno and more.
While the record sounds familiar, it lacks a clear doppelgänger. Unlike most bands with a shoegaze bent, Bichkraft circumvents any easy comparisons. The band’s guitar tones and parts shift acrobatically, complementing the steady bass, precise drum patterns, and incanted vocals - and though disillusionment and paranoia are central to the record, they’re masked by the band’s joy of playing music. Mascot’s bleak themes were embodied in its sound, but Shadoof shows the band transcending negativity. Bichkraft acknowledge the world’s darkness, but they’re not slaves to it, and they’re moving past it the only way they know how.