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In a year of multiple comebacks, Airiel‘s full-length return (the successor to 2012’s ‘Kid Games’ EP) is one of the highlights. ‘Molten Young Lovers’ has been in our hands for a few months now (arriving in October via Shelflife Records). Strange to think this is only the second album from the band in twenty years. It’s a big deal! Thankfully the Chicago shoegazers (led by Jeremy Wrenn) gave fans exactly what they want; a carefully-conceived album that doesn’t divert from the script.

Our first taste arrived months back with the ‘Cloudburst’ single. Its indicative of the quality ‘gazey indie pop we’ve come to expect from Airiel. The album kicks off with an unrepentant drum machine intro on ‘This Is Permanent’. The electronic drums give the record an 80s feel, especially on the snare-heavy opener. It’s a textured attention grabber that carefully weaves simple melodic ideas into one sonic mass. The artful arrangement of said noise is consistent throughout, it plays out as one body of work. Which is no small achievement given it was put together over several years.

‘Your Lips, Your Mouth’ is a beautiful ode that wanders off into the cinematic, with an instrumental break to vibe out to. The middle section of the album provides some great shoegaze power ballads! Airiel aren’t afraid to let the pretty vocals hang out there, opting not to sink them into the mix. The bittersweet vocals and airy synths are another head nod to the 80s new wave.

I love the record but tracks like ‘Song For You’ are too sentimental for my tastes. I needed an emotional “tea break” at the midpoint. However, ‘Red Car’ and ‘The Painkillers’ quickly came to the rescue, both confident space rockers. Overall, ‘Molten Young Lovers’ deserves plenty of play, it’s arguably Airiel’s most accomplished work. An album fans can return to. Which is important, because it may be awhile before we get a follow up.

Airiel – ‘Molten Young Lovers’ [Stream]

Visit Airiel @ Shelflife Records @ Facebook.