Artist: The Depreciation Guild Song: 'My Chariot (School of Seven Bells…
- Posted on Jan 16th 2011 12:45PM by Kenneth Partridge
Performing Saturday night at the Rock Shop in Brooklyn, N.Y., the locally based blip-gaze group offered nothing in the way of a farewell, even though numerous websites -- including the Guild's own Facebook page -- had announced in December that the band would split after two more shows.
Maybe Feldman didn't want to upstage Victor, an audience member celebrating his 30th birthday. Or maybe he's too fixated on his other, more successful band, the Pains of Being Pure at Heart, for which he plays drums, to fret about the Guild's demise.
Either way, Saturday's set marked an anticlimactic end to the underappreciated band -- a former novelty act that, over its six-year run, outgrew its video-game shtick and released two albums of glistening, bittersweet synth-pop.
In Super Mario Bros. terms, Saturday's set was like coming to the end of the eighth level and knocking Bowser into the lava, only to watch Princess Toadstool shrug her shoulders and offer Mario a polite handshake. Dude just sprinted through a labyrinth of fireballs and flying hammers -- all the while tripping on 'shrooms and rocking constrictive red overalls. How about a little sugar? A little fanfare?
Despite the Guild's lack of flash, gems 'My Chariot,' 'Crucify You' and 'Dream About Me' -- all from 2010's stellar 'Spirit Youth' -- shone sufficiently bright. The group was hardly alone in referencing Slowdive and the Cocteau Twins, key influences for countless '00s neo-shoegazers, but its best songs often evoked up-hip, unusual '80s influences, such as Level 42. This, more than any chip-tune gimmickry, was the Guild's greatest strength -- and the reason it will be missed.
"We'll end on a low note," guitarist Christoph Hochheim said during the encore, introducing the penultimate 'White Moth.'
A dreamy nod to the 'Strangeways'-era Smiths, the tune was neither a high nor a low. It was pleasantly innocuous -- easy to like but difficult to love. In a sense, it was the perfect way for the Guild to say goodbye.