The Virgance is the solo project of Suffolk, England multi-instrumentalist Nathan Smith, who previously was with ’90s indie outfit Ripley and later a collaborator with electronica act Loveless. As a solo artist, the best way to describe Smith’s music is a more shoegazey Explosions in the Sky. Like the Austin, Texas quartet, Smith focuses on creating music that captivates and seduces at times and then surprises with its explosive riffs and beats.

On Hiko Shrine, Smith further expands upon his experimental, sonic rock. Adding an interstellar feel akin to Anthony Gonzalez’s (M83) score for the movie Oblivion, his sophomore album takes us on a ride that soars above the stratosphere. From the opening track, “Propulsion Lab Part I” to the middle track “Freon Presence” to the finale “Slingshot”, the album does not sound like nine distinct tracks but rather one cohesive song – or more like a story. With each track, the music builds as the plot thickens and rises and falls with each flurry of action (such as on tracks “Mobuis Strip” and the excellent “Airsick”) before reaching its buzzing climax (“Eos and Astraeus”) and ending with a moment of serenity (“Slingshot”).

Where Smith differs from Gonzalez’s score of the Tom Cruise movie is the way he utilizes different sounds and textures throughout the album instead of relying on the same melody. As a result, a wave of emotions is felt, never feeling as if one was stuck in a single moment. Hiko Shrine is a fascinating album that at times exhilarates. It’s not just another album; Hiko Shrine could be the soundtrack of a blockbuster film – or maybe a NASA documentary.

Hiko Shrine was released on Monday (January 26) on netlabel El Vals del Conejo. You can get the album for free on The Virgance’s Bandcamp page (or you could leave a tip) or hear it on Soundcloud. The album is below.

Website –
Facebook – The Virgance
Twitter – @TheVirgance

The Virgance 1

Follow The Revue On...


Share This Article On...