Thick, candied fuzz cloaks the songs Cole Furlow makes as Dead Gaze, but the Oxford, Mississippi-based musician (a member of the so-called “Cats Purring” collective, which also includes Dent May and Bass Drum of Death) has too much pop in his heart to be confused for just another shrugging lo-fi bro. Dead Gaze’s proper self-titled debut, which mostly cherry-picks the best of Furlow’s various cassette and vinyl releases since 2009, is a great chance to get caught up on his skewed, blown-out brand of angsty tunefulness. Standouts like Nirvana-fueled bummer beater “This Big World” or Shins-with-synths strummer “Glory Days for Sure” would find an audience regardless of production techniques, but Furlow’s affinity for digital-era compression and distortion ensure nothing he does can quite be mistaken for acts that came before. It’s the Sleigh Bells approach to the Loudness Wars — use available technology to crank yourself over the din — only applied to an unassuming tradition of noise-streaked, tender-hearted songwriting that runs back to the Flying Nun label. And Dead Gaze doesn’t just rest on past laurels: Dreamily euphoric homecoming epiphany “I Found the Ending,” arguably the most accomplished song here, is new with this release.
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