An Electrifying Jolt of Energy | “Kiss” by Five Pebbles


Matt Cruz, Media Librarian

2021 was a phenomenal year for the underground shoegaze, noise pop and dream pop scenes. Oftentimes Relegated as genres far past its heyday, you could be convinced otherwise from the stellar releases of Parannoul, sonhos tomam conta, Julia, Brokenteeth, Asian Glow and many other artists.

Towards the tail end of 2021, the year’s list of shoegaze essentials seemed to be all but solidified — until the release of forgetmenot by Five Pebbles, a moniker used by the mysterious musician Sputnik, better known as Weatherday. 

Listeners and the DIY community alike erupted in a riotous frenzy — eagerly feasting upon the latest material by one of the most visionary and promising acts in the underground. Time and time again, Sputnik has proven their understanding of sound to be nearly boundless — and forgetmenot solidifies the reverence given to them in an increasingly statuesque fashion. “Kiss,” the third track off of the aforementioned EP, is a shimmering example of the coalescing sounds, textures and movements that Sputnik has been idly watching from atop their throne. 

Against the wail of noise, “Kiss” bombastically vaporizes before the listener’s eyes like a falling star mid-air. This deafening shockwave carries an immense energy, causing your hairs to stand on end in its instant explosion. The wistful serenade of a sinking guitar riff repeats over the bitcrushed percussion in a dynamic and effortless loop.

The ghastly, artificial voice floats over the instrumental, jaggedly freezing over the instrumental with an entrancing, prismatic permafrost. The sharp, yet esoteric vocals melt into the soundscape with a delivery not seen since the underground opus of Mikgazer Vol. 1. 

“Stay here / 

The trains are loud /

Come down here /

Underneath the stairs /

Same way like before.”

In a grand detonation, the cymbals explode against the crumbling synths into a persistent vacuum of noise. This granular stardust rains down from above, coating the listener in a static snowfall. 

“Tell me /

Whatever you want /

I will /

Eat your words.”

As this squall strengthens into a blizzard, the listener is buffeted by the increasing wall of sound, stopping them in their tracks as they navigate the blanketing soundscape.

This complete sonic vortex transforms into a delicate ballet of crystals, showcasing Sputnik’s chilling penchant for texture and structure. The bitpop influenced drums are allowed to showcase their presence, unraveling the instrumental into a series of micro-movements that dazzlingly display its inner skeleton. This percussive moment runs infinitely, like a youth in a meadow — heading boundlessly toward the horizon, undeterred and confidently defiant. 

In an instant, the grungy strums of a guitar transition the instrumental above the ghastly croon into a kaleidoscopic passageway, impressively flaunting the arpeggiating noise shooting past the horizon like gamma radiation. In a final coda, the initial structure of the track is resurrected, before reaching its zenith in the same chords as the bridge, stumbling upon itself as it collapses in an instantaneous flash. 

The increasingly frostbitten instrumentation elevates Sputnik’s melancholy into a hedonic euphoria — rivaling the cathartic highs found on Come In. 

Despite being made in a week, forgetmenot is satisfyingly prophetic in its apt namesake. If “Kiss” is just a sample of what Five Pebbles has to offer, I don’t see a future where Sputnik isn’t changing the direction of shoegaze to come.