Published Jun 25, 2020Taking '80s synthpop and filtering it through a glittering shoegaze veil, Toronto-based band Sahara's debut full-length album, Pure Glass, is a poppy, fun time that is at once nostalgic and optimistically forward-looking, subtly nodding at its influences while delivering something new.
Reminiscent of early Cure, but in the way that a childhood memory lingers, Pure Glass is replete with beach-y tracks hooked onto a longing of fun times past and present, but also swelling like the sea — looking forward, breaking against shoals. Founded by singer and guitarist Andrew Wilson and guitarist Joe Elaschuk, Sahara find inspiration in '80s new wave and '90s shoegaze. Indeed, Pure Glass seamlessly marries the two genres, but adds a bent of its own almost entirely with strong instrumentals.
The album contains instrumental narrative that quells like a fist pump in a John Hughes ending. Creating tension from alternately meandering and then rushing electric guitar, the album's success lies in the collaboration of the band's collective musical talent: in addition to Wilson and Elaschuk on guitars, Julie MacKinnon is on bass and Edan Scime Stokel is on drums. While the songwriting is existential and self-aware (subverting the album's gaiety with knowledge that good times do end), Wilson's voice is hauntingly diffused, oftentimes becoming faint as gossamer (in the manner of Indoor Voices). Still, the true star of the album is the guitars — just listen to the satisfying "Chimes." Lyric-less tracks punctuate the album and allow for seamless transitions, which keeps the listener wrapped up in Pure Glass's jovial mood.
It's the perfect summertime album. The track "100 Days" dances through a meditation on the ultimate futility of meaningless labour and the importance of making the most of the present. Pure Glass is a success on two levels: it brings us something new by seamlessly merging two genres, and, perhaps most importantly, it will make you want to dance without feeling guilty about the passage of time. (Hand Drawn Dracula)