When discussing shoegazer, there are certain names that inevitably, and not surprisingly, pop up (e.g., My Bloody Valentine, Slowdive, Ride). However, there are a slew of bands that have carved out their own solid niche in the genre, and one of them is Arizona’s Alison’s Halo. Formed in 1992, the trio (plus a drum machine named “Alison”) was a major part of Arizona’s “beautiful noise” scene, and released several EPs, some live recordings, and a compilation.
The band’s secret weapon is Catherine Cooper’s vocals, which bring to mind Lush’s Miki Berenyi. While often buried beneath layers of noise, as shoegazers are wont to do, there’s both a sweetness and an ache in her voice that pulls you in. And while Alison’s Halo can certainly conjure up a lovely whirlwind of noise, their finest moments are when they dial the noise down a bit and let the melodies — and Cooper’s voice — work their magic.
I’ve embedded some of my favorite Alison’s Halo songs below, including the Dozen/Calendar 7″, which contains some of the band’s finest material.
Alison’s Halo’s Eyedazzler will be reissued by Captured Tracks in December, presumably as part of the label’s “Shoegaze Archives”. The label has already reissued material from Half String, another Arizona-based “beautiful noise” band.