The Chicago centered band Pink Avalanche do not pretend to be anything other than they are. This is not an overproduced synth laden album, it’s a four piece band with two guitars and they stick to that basic formula. Che Arthur’s (the singer/guitarist) might not have the prettiest voice, but his raw vocals are the perfect accompaniment to the sludgy distorted guitar rifts and haunting delayed drone that characterize The Luminous Heart of Nowhere. Pink Avalanche uses dueling guitars set to a more than competent rhythm section to create a sound that is seemingly both intricate and minimalistic at the same time.
“Chalk and Crimson,”the first track to the album, demonstrates this in good effect. A looped guitar riff creates the effect of a multi-layered guitar chorus with Che’s sedate droning vocals evoking a lulling sense of calm. The song then switches gears mid-song and descends into a fuzzed out distorted guitar riff that breaks from the earlier frigid sound with matching irate tone from Che, before returning to the cold layered delay interspersed with fuzzed out guitar chords and a sliding bass.
The next song “Petals” is quite the contrast to “Chalk and Crimson.” Here Pink Avalanche shows their Punk influences with an upbeat sludge guitar riff and abruptly delivered lyrics chanted out in unison. “You Lost Me” returns with the dueling guitars but remains more downtempo although the delivery of the vocals remains high-energy and keep the forcefulness from “Petals.”
“Oaths” mixes a compelling riff and steady drums building to a crescendo with evocative lyrics such as “We are shadows in earthen caves, we are remnants of a golden age.” “Oaths” has a positively post-apocalyptic aesthetic, both in the explosive guitar sound and the lyrical subjects. “Trapped in Amber” combines manic drums and a quick repetitive guitar riff with indecipherable punk vocals for a short but powerful 1:51.
“In Empty Spaces” plays the guitarists off against each other in what is perhaps the strongest song of the album. “Just swallow you’re sugar sweet illusion, so content you never move you’re finger over the dial” the song recites as a seeming condemnation of our modern culture of distraction and empty spectacle. “In Empty Spaces” features some of the best guitar work on the album, with impressive but subtly stated solos interspersing with the vocal delivery.
The Luminous Heart of Nowhere is a good album from a relatively new band. Although some of the tracks seem to meander and go on a bit too long without a satisfying conclusion, as a whole this is an excellent follow up to their 2013 debut album “Wraiths.” If Pink Avalanche can keep cranking songs out that are of the caliber as “In Empty Spaces” I would be very interested to see where they go in the future.