Shoegaze was one of those genres that seemed to come and then go back in the 80s and early 90s. No doubt the influence the bands of the scene had on the continued sound of grunge and post-rock in later years was undeniable, but at the time it seemed like such a flash-in-the-pan concept. Basically summed up as a style that involved a lot of distorted guitars, distorted vocals and a general dreariness to it, shoegaze was an important yet fleeting sound that managed to breed some of the best bands of the modern day. So why does it seem so coincidental that three of the biggest names in the scene; Slowdive, The Jesus And Mary Chain, and Ride, all chose to return to the game this year. All three have been completely silent for the best part of twenty years, yet chose 2017 to make their glorious return. So are we in fact seeing a huge resurgence in the shoegaze sound?
While some deniers may claim this to be a simple nostalgia ploy, being that all these bands were part of the original scene and most newer bands haven't taken on the baton, the same could have been said for the grime resurgence. Grime rappers responsible for bringing back the London rap sound were Skepta, JME, Lethal Bizzle, Kano and Wiley, all of which were players in the genre's humble beginnings. Yet it only took a few years for grime to generate some new faces. So are we just seeing the beginnings of other newer bands beginning to take an interest in shoegaze?
Well, to be fair, it has already proven itself to be well underway. Bands like The Horrors drastically changed their direction a few years back, opting for a far more shoegaze inspiration, which so far has landed them as one of the country's most acclaimed bands. And while Radiohead's latest album 'A Moon Shaped Pool' was extremely experimental in its intentions, the fuzz and brooding sound of shoegazing was very much alive in the album's purpose. But even though names at the top of the world's musical zeitgeist are proving few and far between, the scene itself has been simmering lightly over the last decade and some newer bands could begin to ride this trend back to the mainstream.
Bands such as Deerhunter, Deafheaven, Cheetahs, Wild Nothing and Yuck have all begun to show themselves as contenders to bring the scene roaring back into the public eye. And even groups like Crystal Castles have proven that there is even an electronic avenue that the shoegaze sound could follow down. But while all these bands are certainly more of a cult attraction, is it possible that we will start to see bands like these make it back into the Top 20 in the same way grime did?
It is certainly too early to tell but given the history of trends, there is definitely a possibility of hearing this kind of music back in the charts, especially it the tastemakers of BBC Radio 1 begin to see its potential. I mean to put it simply, shoegaze was never much of moneymaking genre. But many of the bands that look to make it, bring a huge amount of acclaim with them and it is this positive response to the return of acts like Slowdive that could see a huge change in the waves of musical taste. It is not the kind of genre that most can get excited about, I understand that, but given how important it was in shaping the sound of modern rock music, the influence and inspiration a resurgence could bring to a wallowing indie rock scene could be just the ticket to see it back on its feet.