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Infinity Girl harnesses isolation and uncertainty on 'Harm'



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At the end of 2012, indie rock band Infinity Girl released an EP called “Just like Lovers.” The record’s reverb-heavy guitars and dreamy vocals placed it in the category of shoegaze, an indie rock subgenre that had its dominant period in the early 1990s.

In August, Infinity Girl released “Harm,” its second full-length album and first release since “Just like Lovers.” The band will play a show at 7 p.m. Sunday at the Brick House.

A month after “Just like Lovers” came out, drummer Sebastian Modak left the country for a Fulbright Fellowship in Botswana, where he worked on a video project on hip-hop and social change. In the 11 months he was gone, shoegaze started to see something of a revival, with genre luminaries My Bloody Valentine releasing its first album in two decades and young bands like Cloakroom, Pity Sex and Nothing gaining traction.

Shoegaze’s popularity has continued to surge in the indie world, but guitarist/vocalist Nolan Eley said “Harm” came out of an effort to dial down on some tendencies typical of the genre — he wanted to avoid covering guitars in reverb and delay as a crutch, for example.

“It was cool to see if we could make a big-sounding record without that stuff,” he said.

And though Modak, 27, said avoiding the “classic shoegaze sound” does distinguish Infinity Girl from bands with pedal board dependencies, putting that effort into “Harm” was mostly about progressing as a band.

As such, Eley, 25, said he allowed himself some moments of that reverb/delay indulgence while writing, but those moments were in 
service of the songs.

He said he drew even more from post-punk and hardcore than on previous records, but the album’s darkness was a product of his headspace around the time he moved to New York City.

“Moving to a new place — New York especially — as a young adult carries with it a lot of adjusting,” he said. “For me, it’s so weird how alienated or alone you can feel surrounded by so many people.”

Eley said he doesn’t view his lyrics on “Harm” as explicitly pessimistic. They just happen to focus on attacking the negatives in his life as opposed to praising the 
positives, he said.

Modak also contributes lyrics to Infinity Girl, and he said his writing falls under the same banner, often concerning what he lacks emotionally or psychologically. He said his uncertainty in his path post-Botswana colored both his lyrics and drumming on “Harm.”

“I had my plan for the fellowship in Botswana and it ended, and I had no idea what I was going to do,” he said. “I channeled that into the lyrics and the playing on the record too. There’s a lot of release.”

Now, the members of Infinity Girl all live in New York City — bassist Mitchell Stewart moved to the city shortly before Eley and guitarist/vocalist Kyle Oppenheimer did. Modak joined them after his fellowship ended, though he said they all moved for career or personal reasons, not just for the band.

Eley said he anticipates a much smoother process for the next Infinity Girl album than the writing and recording that yielded “Harm.” In fact, they’ve already got about 20 songs written, which they’ll narrow down for a record in the near future, he said.

But even though there’s still work to be done, Modak said one thing is clear: each member is in a different headspace than he was two years ago.

Eley described it as “more optimistic, more romantic.”

“It’s definitely moving beyond that (darkness),” he said. “It’s a little happier. We’re in a better place.”

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