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  Project Skyward  
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Breakthroughs is the debut EP from Project SKyward, a new band out of New York City. Most of the bands i hear from NYC are garage rock or Sonic Youth derived noise. Not that i am dissing those genres, instead i mean to point out that the smooth tones and subtle beats of Breakthroughs is as unusual given it's geographic source as it is refreshing.

The most obvious reference point i hear in listening to this EP is Slowdive. There are male and female vocals, funky beats, and wave after wave of guitar drone. It's very nice, if you are into that sort of stuff. There are only four tracks, so let me examine each of them.

The EP starts off with Worm Hole. This title, combined with the general "deep space" imagery of the packaging show the band's tendencies: wandering, relaxing, vaguely psychedelic music. This song features a male voice singing through distortion (as if he is singing from inside his space suit, and we are hearing the radio broadcast), strange beeping sounds (again -- coming from his space suit), a wavering guitar drone, and a fuzzy beat. It's a good little tune.

Brave New World features a hardier beat, one that is almost glitchy. The voice is the same here, but the song slowly builds to a tense climax. The guitars are very well done -- fine shoegazing there lad!

But then, after two shoegazery songs, Project Skyward mix it up a bit. A Storm features ambient drones and guitar over a beat that is almost ready for the dance floor. It's funky and catchy. I am reminded here of Slowdive's In Mind EP where their shoegazing goodness was dancified by those boys in Reload. Excellent stuff, and Project SKyward pull it off admirably. This is a good song, and i like how they combine the dance beat and the distorted guitars.

But it is Shine that really works for me. To end their debut EP, Project Skyward start off with mellow ambience, then add in a funky little breakbeat. This song is masterful: it combines so many different genres that i enjoy into one lovely blend that i am impressed. This song is a drum n bass ambient shoegazing powerhouse. Very cool. And not exactly like anything else that i have heard before. Oh sure, there are hints of this in a few places (the afore-mentioned Slowdive EP, some of the work of SeeFeel, the mid-era work of Bowery Electric), but no one has really pulled it off quite so well.

So i am impressed. Quite. I look forward to seeing what these people will do next.

If you are into shoegazer, indie dance, trip-hop, electronica, or ambient music, then this is a release to check out, and a band to look out for.

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