Japanese band Taffy return with their EP ‘Darkle’ and show that mixing grunge and shoegaze is still a glorious idea
ast year the Japanese noise-pop four-piece Taffy released their third album Plus +++. Chock-full of glorious rattling chords and gorgeous melodies, it was an amalgam of shoegaze’s beauty and grunge’s howl. Now they return with their EP Darkle and prove that they’ve lost none of their skill for writing memorable songs.
Opening with the brilliantly named Ride-meets-Pixies track Suicidal Bunny is an excellent move. It’s gritty, crunchy and deliriously catchy. With the breathy vocals adding an ethereal quality to the song, you’ll be hoping you don’t wake up to find to find you dreamt having heard it. Redamancy then starts off like Nirvana b-side Marigold, before immersing itself in the gorgeous tonality that made My Bloody Valentine’s Loveless one of the most beloved albums of all time.
If that’s turned your nose up then turn away now. Because while Young Tines nods to indie-pop gods Galaxie 500 – via a hidden fancy for the flower bangle indie of The Stone Roses – and HBD has a K Records-esque naivety, the EP’s other tracks stick faithfully to the band’s previous formula. Of those songs, Remember To Remember sounds like the 00s cousin of 90s grungegaze masters Shallow, Dr K lets Catherine Wheel and Ride kick lumps out of each other and The Brian Jonestown Massacre remix of Young Tines brings a glaze of The Capsules’ plinky ambience to the original.
Shoegaze and grunge have been mixed together with some aplomb for what now seems like an awfully long time. There’s a reason that this still survives, because the combination of dreamy melodies and clattering riffs is utterly infectious, but with so many pretenders desperate to be the new Shallow you need something special to stand out now, and that falls either to an artist’s willingness to experiment or their pop songcraft. Taffy chose the latter, and their mastery of sonic pop harmony makes Darkle one of the finest records of its type to have been released so far this year.
Verdict: Pop-tastic grungegaze