Borrowing but not stealing from new wave and shoegaze pioneers, Film School washes its distorted jams, crunchy melody lines and crescendos with a thick layer of atmospheric noise.

Borrowing but not stealing from new wave and shoegaze pioneers, Film School washes its distorted jams, crunchy melody lines and crescendos with a thick layer of atmospheric noise. Lead singer Krayg Burton channels his inner Robert Smith; his moody, punchy (and sometimes endearingly off-key) voice runs a musical gamut defined by the troupe's varying moods.

This self-titled effort revs up with a full minute of squirrelly guitar swells like a warning siren. The first full track, "On & On" is mischievous and sonically exciting as Burton recalls, "We got down tonight / with words and with wine." "Harmed" injects dark drones and loud crash cymbals into flailing verses, falling off beautifully into a short chorus. "Pitfalls" is an example of how well synths accompany the melodies without drowning them out. On the whole, the songs are never too long or too wanky, and even the most convoluted, criss-crossing guitar lines are easy to love. -- Katie Hasty

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