Omaha’s See Through Dresses have been about for a while, having self-released their debut LP in 2014. Now though, they’re set to gain traction with their second record, ‘Horse of the Other World’ being released on revered indie label Tiny Engines.
Sound-wise, See Through Dresses fit neatly into the “shoegaze revival” box, but that’s not to say that they can’t get creative within this sphere. Tracks like ‘Pretty Police’ and ‘Light in August’ might follow standard shoegaze tropes, but other songs do a lot to buck this trend. ‘Radiant Boy’ and ‘Lucy’s Arm’ occupy a more straightforward, upbeat rock-song space than much of ‘Horse…’. The latter especially features harsher guitars, raw vocals and very little of shoegaze’s staple reverb, which helps it stand out.
Synthesisers feature prominently, right from the offset – opener ‘Diamonds’ is a synth-led affair which eases the listener into the album gently. Though ‘Diamonds’ is slow and sombre, See Through Dresses’ synth use works best on more upbeat tracks like the explosive ‘Violet’, or the pop gem ‘Shelley’, which features a bright, shimmering keyboard hook that stands out as one of the album’s best moments. More understated and ethereal tracks such as ‘Catacombs’ and ‘Herbivore’ make use of Sara Bertuldo’s fantastic vocal abilities to compliment sparse instrumentation brilliantly.
The closing title track combines a lot of the elements demonstrated throughout ‘Horse…’, maintaining a stripped back, simple approach for much of its run-time, before erupting, two-thirds in, into the kind of droning, reverb-laden dream-pop that occupies much of the album. The initially reserved approach gives the final section of the track more impact, ending the album on a satisfying note.
‘Horse of the Other World’ doesn’t particularly push music or the shoegaze revival forward, but it does offer focused, varied songwriting and a great set of songs. See Through Dresses refine their approach on their second album, which hopefully signals the start to a bright future on Tiny Engines.
‘Horse of the Other World’ by See Through Dresses is out now on Tiny Engines.
Words by Alan Cunningham (@funeral_polis)