steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

blankred.jpg (4669 bytes)
blankred.jpg (4669 bytes)
blankred.jpg (4669 bytes)
blankred.jpg (4669 bytes)
info opinion

Uncletoe's Portasound

"[Sentimental]" cassette

Best Kept Secret

Genres: indie pop, dream pop, shoegazer

Best Kept Secret
c/o Alessandro Crestani
via Biron di Sotto, 101
36100 Vicenza

Sep 6 - 12 2004

[Sentimental] is the first of many Best Kept Secret cassettes I'll be reviewing over the next weeks, so sit tight.  The fun's just begun.

Uncletoe's Portasound is one of the many eclectic bands with releases on the Italian BKS tape imprint, and keeping with the label's tradition, you don't get fed anything you could possibly expect.  [Sentimental] boasts ten indie pop songs that blur dream rock with synths and lo-fi recording.  The whole thing is quite unconventional - sometimes dreamy, sometimes loud - but, the style is particularly likeable if given a few listens.  Blissful shoegazer is the dominant genre, although other influences certainly seep in.

Side one has five tracks on it, starting off with the Yo La Tengo-esque "Passerby" and ending in dream-pop territory with the peaceful but somewhat tedious "Gone."  Rock number "Bitter" boasts a tight sound and some very impressive guitar soloing and "Icicle" is a pretty, shimmering space pop tune.  "Wish I Was There" is slowish shoegazer, and becomes a bit tiresome after multiple listens.

Side two contains five more songs in a similar vein.  The songs are slow and calming, based in true shoegazer territory - Jesus and Mary Chain and My Bloody Valentine comparisons, here we come.  Only the more rock-centred "So Tired" wanders from side B's relaxed theme.

What separates Uncletoe's Portasound from more successful shoegazer acts is melody; these songs have the right atmosphere, but don't latch on to the calibre of hooks necessary to capture most listeners' attentions.  You'll need to spend more effort getting to know the music before you'll be hooked - it makes for a challenge, but in the end it's a worthy investment.


Matt Shimmer

[Vitals: 10 tracks, distributed by the label, released 2003]