LUSHLIFE "We're very influenced by [shoegaze], but there's more to Infinity Girl than that," says Sebastian Modak (third from left, with Mitch Stewart, Nolan Eley, and Kyle Oppenheimer).
Being labeled "shoegaze" is a tricky thing for a fledgling band. On one hand you immediately catch the attention of fans of the genre, who tend to devour anything that gets tagged with the fairly lazy depiction. But on the other hand, the term is often a repellant, turning off those who had enough of the ear-piercing sound by the 48th minute of My Bloody Valentine's landmark 1991 record, Loveless. And that latter group comprises a demographic several times that of the former.
For better or worse, shoegaze is one of the first tags hung around the collective neck of Cambridge quartet Infinity Girl. Arriving pretty much out of nowhere in May with brilliant self-released full-length debut Stop Being on My Side and boasting a pretty-fucking-shoegaze-sounding moniker, the band shrugs at the label, acknowledging it with the same ease with which they unleash their furious sound, but also quickly adding that the band is more than just carefully calculated noise-pop. "It makes it sound like we're in the business of mimicking bands that existed years ago," offers drummer Sebastian Modak over lunch at Mariposa Bakery in Central Square. "We're very influenced by them, but there's more to Infinity Girl than that."
Indeed. Dreamy, blissed-out, reverb-drenched '90s rock is the foundation here, but the complexity, breadth, and layered texture of Infinity Girl's wall of sound is startling. With only a handful of low-exposure shows around Cambridge venues to their credit, they released Stop Being on My Side, an 11-track album that runs without a break, includes several instrumentals, and spans the sonic platter from whip-smart jangle-pop and sludgy slouch-rock that echoes Pavement and late-'90s Blur ("Cellophane and Gold," "Blood And Dirt") to the jaw-crushing, concrete-thick guitar work that's brought out the shoegaze obsessives ("By Now," "Please Forget"). It's music to get completely lost in.
Infinity Girl formed less than a year ago when vocalist/guitarist Nolan Eley was performing solo at Monkey Rock, a songwriter circle at All Asia Café in Central Square. With just an Orange amp and a distorted vocal mic, Eley gave a glimpse of the future on eventual Infinity Girl standout track "Please Forget." Relentless on record, Eley performed it stripped down, sounding a bit like Blur's "You're So Great." "I said 'I want to play drums on that,' " says Modak. "I was watching and thinking, 'This needs a loud band behind it.' "
Soon, the first phase of Infinity Girl was formed: former punk drummer Modak, a University of Pennsylvania transplant who grew up in Indonesia; Virginia native and Berklee College of Music's Eley on guitar and vocals; fellow Berklee student Kyle Oppenheimer, from New Hampshire, on guitar; and Andrew Ransom, of hardcore band Integrity, on bass. Having a rhythm section come from more intense music circles only enhanced Infinity Girl's fury. "A lot of the songs were written beforehand — in my bedroom on my own — last summer," says Eley. "Half of those became Infinity Girl songs. As we started playing together, the personality started getting into the sound. Sebastian's aggressive drumming, Kyle's feedback in the pedals. We started becoming more of a band."