Rhythm & Views

Film School

All of the lads in San Francisco's Film School have funny names: There's Krayg Burton, Nyles Lannon, Justin LaBo, Donny Newenhouse and Jason Ruck. Makes you wonder if their music will follow suit. Fear not; it doesn't.

Listening to Film School is like stepping into a portal back to 1988, where all of the indie kids are listening to The Church and My Bloody Valentine. Noises and guitar effects pour out of the speakers, and with each listen, it gets a little less chaotic.

For Film School, however, sometimes chaos is a good thing--Burton's off-key vocals don't help "On and On" much, but then the trotting rhythm and descending notes of noise in "Harmed" drown out the vocals. "Breet" begins with a New Order-esque guitar hook, but again, the vocals add something sour that distracts from the sweet sonic textures. The Fugazi-like moment in "Pitfalls," when Burton cries "Stop. And then, go" as the guitar slides back and forth, almost saves the song from the cheesy organ breakdown three minutes in--almost.

Film School are true to their shoegazing predecessors when, like on the chorus of "Breet," effects on the vocals blend them into the fuzz. As long as they let the instruments do most of the singing, like the blissful first 58 seconds of "He's a Deep Deep Lake," or the atmospheric build of "Like You Know," Film School's nostalgia nearly balances out the funny names and the off-key vocals. Nearly.

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