The four members of dream pop group Tears Run Rings are scattered throughout three West Coast American cities (Portland, San Francisco, and Los Angeles), forcing them to collaborate virtually. After forming in 2006 (following a reunion of the members' previous band, the Autocollants), TRR's first three releases arrived relatively quickly between 2007 and 2010. Six years following the aptly titled Distance
, the group returns with In Surges
-- also well-named, as the group sporadically found time to work on new music in between family obligations and other musical projects. This time, the group even met up in person several times to work on the album. Musically, TRR haven't really adjusted their sound much since their debut, and it doesn't seem like they intend to do so. All of their albums begin and end with songs called "Happiness," and they all stick to the band's established sound of atmospheric, sad yet pretty shoegaze. The group never abandons its lush, shimmering guitars or soft, wispy vocals, and the music flows as an icy-blue wash of sound. The songs do vary in tempo and volume, however. "Belly Up" features a more uptempo motorik rhythm and spikes of guitar feedback, but they alternate between rougher guitars and more smoothed-out textures. "Something You Can't Hide" is similarly driving and energetic, but also light and dreamy. Other songs seem to reduce the percussion to a steady tambourine shake and a reverberating kick drum, and the effortlessly lovely "Broken" consists of nothing but dreamy vocals and strummed guitars. "Green Lakes" is an eight-minute crawl through the darkest, loneliest corners of the night, and "Destroyer" is a fond, bittersweet remembrance of something that was once good. Quality-wise, In Surges
is a solid album, but more often than not it seems to ooze out as a vaporous mist rather than barrel at you directly, and it sounds perfectly fine doing so.