Over two decades, five albums and much geographical terrain — and through permutations that led back to the reunion of the original lineup in the middle of last decade — Film School have proven masters of mood and texture.
Purveyors of ethereal and conceptual shoegaze, the band released two singles, “Isla” and “Superperfection,” as a way of introducing their sixth album, “We Weren’t Here,” arriving Sept. 24 via Sonic Ritual Recordings.
Both tracks — “Isla” with synths sparkling like moonlight on water and “Superperfection” with its deep blue harmonies (featuring guest Noël Brydebell of Wild Signals) materializing out of a Ride-like guitar shimmer and swirl — suggest a band at the top of its game. Even if its members weren’t all in the same place while playing it.
Yes, “We Weren’t Here” is titled in part as a nod to making an album during the pandemic. Split between Los Angeles and the Bay Area, Film School — bassist Justin LaBo, guitarist Nyles Lannon, frontman Greg Bertens and keyboardist Jason Ruck — recorded in quarantine from their respective home studios. Only when newest member Adam Wade joined Bertens (masked, of course) to lay down drums at L.A.’s Headwest Studio with mixer Dan Long were they ever in the same room.
They’ve made an album addressing, they say, anticipation, separation, regret and revelation. “I imagine the world will be a very different place,” Wade told us back in March 2020 as the reality of isolation set in. It is, but after a year-plus of living in our own crucibles, “We Weren’t Here” feels like a reminder of the things that make us feel present. Music is somewhere high on that list.
||| Stream: “Isla” and “Superperfection”