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"The Battle of Sealand - Spin"

"Dynamic, genre-defying act from ambitious local label Highwheel Records" - Spin Magazine

"The Battle of Sealand - CMJ"

"Airiel’s The Battle Of Sealand (High Wheel) dishes up churning psych-pop ala Spacemen 3, Ride, and their new nephews like Darker My Love and Black Angels, though this Chicago band lays off the dark side for the most part, and swirl out a curvier crunch that’s perfect for summer drives off to nowhere in particular." - CMJ

"The Battle of Sealand - Losing Today"

“Since starting earlier this decade Airiel have developed a great Ride-esque dynamic interplay between instruments and a keen sense of songwriting, that allows their songs to stand side by side with the groups that inspired them.” - Losing Today

"The Battle of Sealand - Chicagoist"

"Is Airiel actually from Chicago? You wouldn't know it from their sound, which leans walls of My Bloody Valentine guitars against melodies plucked from the late-80's wave of Manchester pop. Top it off with trippy visuals projected during their performances and you've got a group unafraid to bring theatricality back to the scene." -

"The Battle of Sealand - Magnet"

Of all of the underground movements of yore, the late-’80s/early-’90s shoegazer genre seems to have aged the best. Maybe it’s because the preeminent recordings of the time sound like nothing that had come before. Or maybe it’s because the sound was never embraced by the mainstream, thus avoiding widespread saturation or burnout. Perhaps this is why Airiel’s The Battle Of Sealand (Highwheel) feels simultaneously fresh while offering what seems like a gift bag of lost tracks by My Bloody Valentine, Ride and Pale Saints. Hailing from Chicago (via Bloomington, Ind.), Airiel has gradually astounded attentive listeners by issuing five EPs since 2003 and putting on a deafening live show.
“Our mentality is to be loud enough so that people pay attention,” says guitarist Chris DeBrizzio. “We pride ourselves on being the loudest band in Chicago. We’ve had the plug pulled on us several times and once played a show in which we were in one room and a dance DJ was in another room. We purposely made it so that no one in the building could hear the DJ.”
At 24, DeBrizzio is the youngest of these sonic architects; the remainder of Airiel is filled out by singer/guitarist Jeremy Wrenn, singer/bassist Cory Osborne and drummer John Rungger, all around the age of 30. A masterfully constructed album that doesn’t dilly-dally with long interludes of ambient noise (a common shoegazer crutch), The Battle Of Sealand quickly gets down to business with the propulsive, more rocking side of Airiel’s chosen genre. “Thrown Idols” is a blazing tribute to pre-Loveless MBV and early Chapterhouse, with the four-piece wailing away with heaps of distortion, pounding drums and an unforgettable hook. Conversely, “Thinktank” and “You Kids Should Know Better” are thick with the layers and effects that used to bankrupt labels with studio fees back in the day.
“If this album had been recorded in 1990, there’s no telling what it would have cost,” says DeBrizzio. “We got extremely lucky with that. We went in over a weekend and spent about a month mixing and mastering.”
A recent U.S. tour exposed Airiel to new audiences great and small. “The turnout in Omaha wasn’t that great, but things started to turn around once we played Denver,” says DeBrizzio. “In L.A., the line for a 600-capacity club was around the corner.” The hometown love for Airiel, however, is hot and cold, despite Chicago being a longtime indie-rock hotspot. “There aren’t a lot of shoegazer-y bands here,” says DeBrizzio. “And there’s a part of the Chicago scene that sees us as sort of a novelty, but our label and friends are here.”
Refusing to toil in retro new wave, post-punk or yawn-inducing folk rehashes is bound to cause a bit of misunderstanding. But when listeners finally do come around to the towering greatness of The Battle Of Sealand, it’s advised they make an earplug investment in the process.
—Andrew Earles
- Magnet

"Airiel EP"

Airiel continues to impress me with every release. This self-titled, self-released disc is amazingly well produced and the song writing of the band gotten even better. There is more of a live feel on this disc and Jeremy Wrenn’s vocals have gotten better since the completion of their Winks and Kisses box set. Hailing from Chicago and now composed of Jeremy Wrenn, Cory Osborne, John Runnger, and Zeeshan Abbasi, Airiel has started to become a force in this generation of shoegaze aficionados.

This S/T work starts of with a re-recording of “500 Deep,” which was on the Dizzy EP. This version has a much more live feel and Wrenn’s vocals are much more confident than before. The drum work and bass work in the mix are stupendous and really bring the song alive. The guitars shimmer and float among the mid-tempo percussion. “Kiss Me Sadly” is a re-made version of “Kiss Me Softly,” which appeared on the Frosted EP. It begins with jangly ride and spacey, gorgeous guitar. The beat in this version is much more subdued and patient. Again, Wrenn’s vox are mature and full with a careful tempo. The guitars in this song are huge and really give it a blissed out feel. The band has definitely improved their ability in the realm of guitar tones and effects. The song plays out in a wall of sound and it’s quite the epic moment on the ep.

“World Cup” is the only completely new song on this disc. It has driving percussion, loud, aggressive walls of sound, and Wrenn’s vocals are added, but there are no lyrics. His vox really add a depth to the song amidst the soaring guitars. In the musical interlude, the guitars become more aggressive and loud with different effects that add much to the song. “Cinnamon” is a remake of a song from an out-of-print Christmas EP that Airiel put out in 2002. “Cinnamon” begins with fast, floor tom percussion and aggressive bass work. The guitars glitter and soar again. Wrenn’s and Abbassi’s guitar work is impressive and the wall of sound expansive.

This is a solid EP and will please every Airiel fan and all shoegaze fans will really dig this disc. Airiel is growing and maturing for the better. The only thing I ask is that they put out a nice, long LP of new tunes. That would make this Airiel fan very, very happy. - Somehwere Cold


The Battle of Sealand - CD LP
Airiel EP - CD EP
Winks & Kisses: Crackled CD EP
Winks & Kisses: Melted CD EP
Winks & Kisses: Dizzy CD EP
Winks & Kisses: Frosted CD EP

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