Despite its growing popularity over the years, and some of its biggest names (e.g., Slowdive, Ride) returning from the void, shoegaze music still often feels like a bit of an outsiders’ genre. I’ll let smarter pundits debate why that might be the case. Instead, I’d like to shine another light on Airiel, one of the brightest and, in my opinion, most overlooked stars in the shoegaze constellation.
Originally formed in 1997, Airiel have been toiling away at their own brand of shimmering, effortless shoegaze pop for well over two decades now. Every single one of Airiel’s recordings, including their most recent full-length, 2017’s Molten Young Lovers, comes with the highest Opus recommendation. But right now, let’s just focus on one of the band’s signature songs, “In Your Room.”
Originally recorded shortly after the band’s formation, “In Your Room” wasn’t released until 2003 as part of the band’s Winks & Kisses EP tetralogy. Despite being recorded in the band’s early days, though, it contains everything that’s good and golden about Airiel’s music, from Jeremy Wrenn’s yearning voice to the band’s perfect blend of atmosphere and melody. Lyrically, it’s one of Airiel’s most unabashedly romantic songs, with Wrenn singing “You stare into my eyes and watch me drown inside/You whisper to me softly as I lie.”
Airiel is one of the most immediately accessible shoegaze bands around, and as a song like “In Your Room” shows, that’s no small praise — despite running over nine minutes, it never wears out its welcome. Indeed, it’s no surprise that the song has popped up in movies and TV shows: Gregg Araki used it in his 2010 film Kaboom and “In Your Room” has also appeared in two episodes of Psych.