“Like the Sun EP” by Programm

February 17. 2015 | By Sean Morris

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Programm
Like the Sun EP
[The Hand]

The shoegaze resurgence (or “nu-gaze” if you will) continues to be a great place to discover major new talent. Programm is a Toronto-based quartet that dishes up the recommended daily allowance of dolorous vocals and reverb washes, but with welcome glimmers of cheer.

Like the Sun begins with intense strumming that gives way to the genre-signifying drum pattern that sounds like a gigantic iron heart beating in an echo chamber. As the title track crescendoes into a maelstrom of amp effects, Jackie Game’s whispery alto injects warmth into the sad side of synth pop. Jacob Soma handles lead vocals on “We Barely Escaped,” which leans more heavily on Mark Game’s nimble keyboards before segueing into alluring space rock for the song’s second half. “Soft Shadows” is the briefest and mightiest of the selections, all pummeling discord courtesy of drummer Andrew Reesor. Along with ambient closer “ZeroZeroZero,” Programm makes an extremely convincing case for nu-gaze as the next go-to sound for sullen sci-fi thriller scores.

Soma and the Games all take turns on guitars, sometimes simultaneously. Instead of collapsing under the weight of employing multiple multi-instrumentalists at once, Programm’s fierce synergy invigorates every track. Like the Sun predictably claws at us with chewed black fingernails, only to engage in an unexpected embrace.

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