WHEN shoegaze was so cruelly traduced by the inkies, dazzle-eyed by their enthralment with the twin coming of grunge and early Britpop, us aficionados shed a quiet tear for a lovely sound, a gorgeous aesthetic seemingly consigned to the history books; but you can’t, as we can see in retrospect, keep a great idea down.
Now, of course, the shoegaze sound is as celebrated as its ever been – with some of those album from three decades ago still very much sounding like the future.
Of course, the revival began sometime around 15 years ago, quietly, with bands like Southpacific and Sennen, Engineers, even Ulrich Schnauss, starting to cite the majesty of the sound; and the Sonic Cathedral club night began to cater to the diehards and the newly seduced. From such acorns, mighty oaks …
Because Sonic Cathedral are now to release an expanded edition of the aforementioned Sennen’s 2005 debut, Widows – and it comes out on vinyl for the first time, as well.
Sonic Cathedral’s Nat says: “When Sonic Cathedral first started out as a club night in 2004, there were a number of bands around that reminded us of the stuff that had made us fall in love with music about 15 years earlier.
“In this so-called ‘nu-gaze’ scene, alongside the likes of Engineers and Amusement Parks On Fire, were an unassuming four-piece from Norwich called Sennen; they played lots of shows for us, and their mixture of melody and noise made them stand out. Essentially, they sounded like the perfect cross between Mogwai and Teenage Fanclub.
“Sennen have gone on to release a number of albums, the most recent being 2016’s First Light, and their music has featured on big TV dramas such as One Tree Hill and True Blood. However, Widows, which never got a vinyl release, remained a much sought-after time capsule of early noughties experimentation.
“Now, just over 15 years later, we are really proud to be once again shining a spotlight on it – releasing it on double clear gatefold vinyl for the first time, as well as on CD and digitally, on July 9th.”
This new expanded edition doubles the original album with another seven contemporaneous tracks, many of which were live staples at the time, but have never been released before, including the new single ‘Forty Years’, the video for which you can watch below. And that’s a cracker, isn’t it? You can hear a little of the Norman Blakes in there, certainly, and when those guitars descend like sheets of warm rain … .
It’s all been remastered by Slowdive’s Simon Scott, whose then band Televise were touring partners with Sennen back in the day.
“Everyone now knows Simon as the drummer in Slowdive,” says Sennen singer and guitarist Rich Kelleway, “but he sang and played guitar in Televise and they were a really good band.
“We were thrilled that he agreed to remaster the record for us. He did a fantastic job, I’ve honestly heard things I’d never noticed before.
“We’re all still very proud of Widows. With your debut you just have to trust your instincts. You don’t need to know everything, you just need to know enough to make a good noise together. Listening to it again in 2021, I wouldn’t change any of it; I think our instincts were right.”
You can pre-order your copy of Sennen’s Widows (expanded edition) at Bandcamp, right now.