Quality: 4.5 out of 5
Trip-O-Meter: 4.5 out of 5
This is the end result of Schnauss' obsessions with icy style electronic sounds and shoegazing aesthetics. Here we have a digital shoegazer classic that I feel ranks only a tiny cut below the best of My Bloody Valentine or Slowdive. A big development here is that Schnauss seems to have really focused on pure songwriting. His earlier album featured fine melodies and a few nice vocal hooks, but they still had the 'sound sculpture' feel that often shapes straight up electronic music (not that I dislike it - I typically take the 'sound sculpture' approach to my Damaged Tape compositions). Here, several songs are fully formed as a good rock band would do, or in Schnauss' case a good shoegazing band. In fact, while close scrutiny does reveal the hand of a skilled electronic producer, Goodbye often has the feel of a band recording - of course a very trippy band.
"Never Be the Same" is a nice announcement that Schauss will be going for a purer shoegaze sound with some fine female vocals and the trippy walls of echo in full effect. Schnauss typically appropriated the textured clean sounds of the quiet side of shoegazing, but on "Stars" he finally tackles the full on distorted guitar roar of My Bloody Valentine, and it results in one of his best tracks. Schnauss then indulges in several great, more ambient tracks - he is a master of this kind of tune - before opening the sonic gates of distortion once again on "A Song About Home." The guitar riff is a little reminiscent of Slowdive's "When the Sun Hits," but I'll give Schnauss a pass as that Slowdive track is one of my favorite songs in general. "Goodbye" is a nice crossroads of all of the styles Schnauss typically mines - perhaps he's suggesting that his next original album (which we're still waiting for in 2011!) will try something entirely different.
If this is 'goodbye' to Schnauss' shoegazing obsession, then this album is a fine send off. I just hope that he didn't mean 'goodbye' from music as we're still waiting for more (Schnauss did release a remix collection a year or two ago). But for you aging hipsters out there that can't get enough of these sorts of sounds (and hopefully a few of you young pups as well), then Goodbye is one of the best recent showcases you're likely to find.