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  In Your Room  
  Sonic Syrup  
Release Date:
  early 2003  
Reviewed by:

Why do three bands have, more or less, the same name? There is "Airiel", formerly of Bloomington, IN now of Chicago, and Aerial, an Atlanta-based ravish collective, and Airial, who is some sort of Japanese artist who has a release on Bella Union Records.

No, really. What is up with this? Thanks to the glory of Google i shall now go and do research on the name "Airiel".

Huh, well whaddayaknow? According to Google, the proper spelling is "Ariel". If you try and look up "Airial" you will get hits that seem to imply this is a place in France. "Ariel", however, is a moon of Uranus named for a sprite in Shakespeare's play The Tempest. Actually, according to the site i found, all of the moons of Uranus are named after Shakespearean characters and not classical Greek mythology. I guess you do, in fact, learn something new everyday.

At any rate, this is much better than my first guess, which was that all of the artists took their name from the title character in Disney's The Little Mermaid. I always labored under the assumption that Disney was un-hip, so naming your band after a character in a Disney film would appear to lose you cred points. But The Bard -- hey, he's cool.

Anyway, the point is that i often find it confusing that these three acts have such similar names. I tired to order the Airial EP from Bella Union, but they were sold out. And the first (and so far only) time i saw Aerial was at Music Midtown a few years ago, and i honestly went because i was curious to see if it was this Airiel.

I had first heard Airiel from a 1999 7" on Roisin Records that featured two fine shoegazing tunes, namely Shirley Temple Tidal Wave b/w Stationary Lights. Good stuff, but it was been a little while since i have heard from them.

Well apparently they are out of college now, living in Chicago, and becoming much more productive. They plan to release three 4-track EPs on Clairecords during the next year, so watch this space for more reviews to come!

In Your Room is the first release in their new round of creative activity. It is released on clear 8" vinyl on the Connecticut-based Sonic Syrup label. Now, i must ask, why an 8" record? Odd sizes are a pain in the ass to store, seeing as they are too big for the 7.5" shelf i keep most of my singles on, but too big for a regular shelf that holds 12" records. Annoying! And, more importantly, there is no real reason for it -- neither of the tunes on this release are long enough to necessitate an extra inch of vinyl. So to the Sonic Syrup people is say: knock it off and stop complicating my vinyl storing procedures!

Okay, well, that aside, how is the music you ask?

Airiel's music is typified by swirling guitars, thudding bass, and frenetic drumming all behind mopey, vaguely brit-affected vocals. Basically, the two tunes on here, both In Your Room and it's b-side Wasteland Cupid, are masterpieces of swirling guitarwork the likes of which have not been seen since Kitchens of Distinction called it a day. (Which was in 1995 in case you were wondering.)

Yeah, this is good stuff. Guitars swirl under a mass of chorus and echo, the bass thuds along merrily, and the drums are frenetic and good. All of this backs up the subdued vocals, which are almost buried in the mix. It's not exactly a revolutionary formula, but it is well executed.

Overall, i recommend this release, in fact any Airiel release, to shoegazers who need something new to listen to while waiting for Kevin Shields to sober up enough to record again. Good stuff.

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