Virgins Release Highly Anticipated New Album – (Irish Shoegaze)

Through towers of reverb drenched fuzz and gossamer yearning vocals Virgins bring us their highly anticipated debut album ‘nothing hurt and everything was beautiful’. The album finds the band exploring a wider sonic palette, seamlessly moving between the gaze-pop of ‘s l o w l y, l o n g’ and ‘d i s a p p e a r e r’, to the dance influenced ‘s o f t e r’ and to the ethereal heavy, expansiveness of        ‘p a l e  f i r e’ and ‘t e n d’. Their captivating sound doesn’t rely on recycling shoegaze tropes but brings a fresh and contemporary approach to the genre.

The album follows the critically acclaimed ‘transmit a little heaven’ EP released in 2022 and singles  ‘s l o w l y, l o n g’ and ‘s o f t e r’. Characterised by massive layers of shimmering, starry gaze against dreamy fuzzed out distortion and all given voice to by vocalist Rebecca Dow’s ethereal siren vocals. The songs were recorded over a period of months after having spent the previous two years filling rooms all over Ireland and the UK with their all-enveloping sounds. Taking the tracks from the stage to studio injected a sense of space, purpose and drive into the songs. The size and energy of each room distilled into the sonic make-up of the songs. Thematically the record moves between sex and love, romanticism, the need to escape and loss all draped over an immersive sonic tapestry.

The record opens with the second single to be taken from the album ‘s o f t e r’. A shoegaze tour de force built around a looping lead riff and the ethereal yearning vocals of Rebecca Dow. Gargantuan walls of dense, beautiful reverbs and dreamy fuzz, transport the listener to a world of abstract beauty and bliss. Michael Smyth and David Sloan’s guitar complement each other perfectly, adding layers of shimmering choral accents, glide guitar trem-arm rhythms, reverse reverbs and lush jet plane phaser sounds. All driven by James Foy’s thunderous drums and anchored by gloriously fuzzed out bass of Brendy McCann. While basking in this audio bath, Rebecca’s vocals offer a guide point to navigate through the hazy requiem.

The gaze-pop of ‘s l o w l y, l o n g’ follows and finds the band embracing pop-centric melodic influences as much as the multitude of fuzz and reverb pedals that smatter their pedalboards. The track is the sound of a band leaning into their strengths, fusing elements from different genres to bring a fresh, contemporary and exciting sound to the genre.

‘c l o s e’ embraces the band’s alt-rock leanings, pushing the pace up for any shoegaze record. David Sloan’s walls of fuzzarocious guitars combined with Michael’s whirring starry guitar and propulsive drums provide a backdrop for aural manipulations by way of Rebeccas ghostly sweet vocals, as delays and reverbs rise up out of the serene reverie like whispers in a half-forgotten dream.

The halfway point of the record is marked by the biggest departure from anything on ‘transmit a little heaven’ as the band explore the more expansive side of their nature. ‘p a l e  f i r e’ is equal parts luxuriously heavy and blissfully ethereal, and as the track progresses it lulls you further and further into the dream. Beginning with an extended build as each musician pulls each note out of their respective instruments causing an avalanche of drums and choruses of shimmering guitars. When it finally breaks it erupts into spine tingling euphoria. Dense with layers of vocals and harmonises on harmonies, Rebecca’s vocals are incredibly expressive and emotionally provocative, beckoning and inviting they still feel like a warning. All while juxtaposed against glimmering effervescent guitars, wailing in the background, warped by reverse reverbs as notes reflect around the cavernous track.

Side B begins as the melloncollie chords of ‘a d o r e’ ring out before giving way to the driving rhythm of the drums and oceanic lead guitar. The song balances melodic beauty with abrasive fuzz and rumbling bass, slowly revealing its subtleties as glimmers of tranquillity in the verses before the heavy tsunami of the chorus comes crashing through. The dreamy half-asleep mood sweeps you along before the flurry of notes in the middle serves as a wake up call. The blatant romanticism of the song aims to capture the daze of falling in love through hazy memories of days with no end.

If ‘a d o r e’ is the weight in the air before a storm, ‘d i s a p p e a r e r’ is the transcendent bliss as the sun breaks. The low buzz guitar that starts the song opens up into a track that aches from the beauty found in slacker ennui as Rebecca intones ‘stinging open wounds that come from stars’ and ‘zero minus zero is’ before trailing off and leaving the equation sum unresolved. Spectral guitars and machine gun drum fills take us into the middle of the track. It feels like the eye of the storm, a moment of angelic clarity underpinned by imminent tension, before the world comes crashing again. Effortlessly melding pop melody, shoegaze fuzzed out rhythm guitars and oceanic leads, ‘d i s a p p e a r e r’ again finds Virgins leaning into gaze-pop territory.

Penultimate track ‘s u n s p o t s’ sounds exactly like its namesake, as David Sloan’s rhythm guitar explodes out of the speakers alternating between raw power fuzz and delicate melodic picking in the verses, creating space for the saccharine vocals of Rebecca Dow. Gnarly fuzz bass and driving drums propel the track throughout, punctuated by interstellar lead guitar in the chorus or jet plane phaser as we take off in the middle of the track. It’s go for the throat shoegaze with no pedal left un-stomped, the refrain of ‘I hear voices on the radio’ still ringing as the final track begins.

The sister song of ‘p a l e  f i r e’, ‘t e n d’ was the final song written for the album, an exploratory opus that illustrates the evolution of Virgins sound. The Long-tailed reverbs of Michael’s fuzzed out guitar wail into the void, paired with David’s delicate picking creates a 3D sound in the verses that feels infinite. Rebecca’s fragile vocals ripple out before becoming a mantra in the chorus. The song is unhurried in its exploration of sound and emotion, the ebb and flow building to a vast middle section, that through its start stop passages feels like the answer to a question that never came, and as we reach the final section feels as though its drifting further and further out of reach.

nothing hurt and everything was beautiful’ is an immense sound, one that showcases the band taking a further step forward in their evolution. Exploratory and emotionally provocative, the subject matter and music on the album delve deep in mining personal experience and bringing that the fore in the music. Tracks that blur nostalgia with future contemporary sounds bring a fresh approach to a genre that the band fully embrace but stretch into new areas.


‘All encompassing dream pop sound’

 – The Last Mixed Tape –

‘Virgins come correct with hooky gaze-pop’

– Nialler 9 –

‘Shoegaze tour-de-force’

– Hot Press –

‘Deafening dream pop’

– Shoegaze Blog –

‘Shoegaze anthem’

– Golden Plec –


The band will play two album launch parties;

April 26th, Dublin – Sin E

April 27th, Belfast – Deers Head

Order the album and merch here: or

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