Like many bands between 1989 and 1993, Thousand Yard Stare found themselves in the unenviable position of battling for air time against grunge music from the States. As everything though, musical is cyclical and their return in 2016 seems like perfect timing.
With BBC6 providing a home for all, and festivals a plenty compared to only John Peel, Glastonbury and Reading/Leeds Festival way back when, Thousand Yard Stare seem destined to ride a more favourable wave.
Perhaps the hardest hitting guitar sound they’ve ever had is countered by Stephen Barnes’ subtle vocals.
As the lyrical self-deprecation grows, the guitars begin to reach for something, almost mainstream indie-rock but, never quite get there. This isn’t a Noel Gallagher quest for glory, this Thousand Yard Stare straddling mainstream guitar pop from the underground, a position few are finer at.
Black & Blue Sky Thinking
The melodic shoegaze opening, hints a drifting away in a Ride-esque moment of glory but, Thousand Yard Stare’s indomitable spirit keeps walking forward throwing uppercuts. The sonic blend of down but never out is the perfect tonic for this tale of self-doubt and urge to overcome.
When Barnes’ professes ‘if I cant stay the course / just leave me on all fours’, you’ll be left isolated wondering where to turn and then, in pure Rocky Balboa fashion, Giles Duffy’s rock n roll guitars come charging through the battlefield to save the day.
Far more immediate, ignited by their archetypal guitar sound from the off. With middle age onset, this urgency carries far more weight. As the imagery grows, Duffy detonates an escapist solo of intense focus and thoughts of ‘one last chance’ become unavoidable.
Marginal Gains – Stargazing
Sean McDonough’s deep rippling bass hook threads this shoegazing EP closer together. No matter how expansive the guitars and production get, they remain rooted in by this glorious throb.
Whist the other tracks hint at last chance saloon, ‘Marginal Gains’ remains forever dreaming of better times to come.
“and if the gains seem marginal / take the reigns, imagine all / where kingdoms come and stars align / the futures yours and could be mine”
Having this hopefulness in the latter part of the career is far more inspirational than coming from a teenager. To not have live, love and optimism kicked out of you by middle age is a glorious thing, especially in this political climate. Where Trump and May want to row backwards, where UKIP think everything has gone to the dogs, Thousand Yard Stare maintain their youthful desire:
“Make the change and charge in full / With every fibre heal scars / The future’s yours and could be ours”
This, can only be a great thing.