Do you know D.C.?
Get our free newsletter to stay in the know about local D.C.
At the dawn of the ’90s, the British pop scene was briefly overrun by a genre known variously as dreampop, wombadelia, and shoegazing (because, during performances, bands tended to stare at their shoesand their full racks of effects pedals). Disciples of the Cocteau Twins and My Bloody Valentine, shoegazers like Chapterhouse, Curve, and Swervedriver created lush soundscapes by adding layer upon layer of highly processed vocals and guitars to basic pop-song structures. Although many bands seemed more intent on creating unique guitar sounds than writing memorable songs, 14 Iced Bears singer-guitarist Rob Sekula never lost sight of his songcraft (or his punk roots), producing some of dreampop’s bestand most overlookedmusic. Sekula matched his simple, world-weary lyrics on love and loss to engaging melodies and dynamic guitar sounds. By turns punky, melancholic, and glorious, Let the Breeze Open Our Hearts compiles the Bears’ self-titled 1988 album, several subsequent EP-only tracks, and a few previously unreleased odds and ends. “Take It” is as noise-ridden and thrashy as “Moths” is wispy and graceful. “Florence” pulsates darkly, cribbing from the Beatles’ classic dreampop precursor “Tomorrow Never Knows.” The collection’s centerpiece, “Cut,” employs a common quiet-then-loud strategy with spectacular results: Sekula sings, “So don’t call me ever again/I think I’ve lost my only friend/A friend who happened to say that she loved me” amid a squall of overdriven guitars. It’s a pop moment as viscerally satisfying as any on Revolver.Leonard Roberge