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I like Gary War, I just don’t know why. Do I like him because his gargled cassette tape psychedelia is gently druggy and soothing, or because I should, because he’s cool? It’s probably a bit of both. Associations with Ariel Pink and John Maus (they were all in Haunted Graffiti together) and Mike Sniper aka Blank Dogs certainly haven’t done War any harm, but still, ‘New Raytheonport’ (remastered and available outside of the States for the first time) is some oddly hypnotic lo-fi.

With underwater vocals and a general slur that sounds like batteries running low on a walkman, songs like ‘Please Don’t Die’ and the almost contemporary ‘Good Clues’ sound exactly like the middle ground between War’s former band names – distant like Ariel’s polaroid pop; heavy on effected keyboards and basic drum machines like Maus, although far less manic. Music like this can easily get very dreary, and on ‘Cyclops Eye’ it definitely does. Mostly, though, War’s shoegaze tape-haze remains strangely appealing.

By Austin Laike

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