Ooh, hand me that hat will you? There. I doff it.
After the pleasantries of ‘Four Corners’ this takes things on a step nicely, if not apace, giving the band more character which is all it takes to dispel doubts. Verging on urgent, ‘Alive’ is beautifully produced and both brisk and relaxed in a cultivated manner, as vocals flap around. The expected prettiness of their guitar is allowed to become gutsy, and they exhibit flashes of this power throughout a trim, inviting album which should also appeal to those outside the traditional Goth field.
‘Uncertain’ is immaculately tense, and the striking lyrical delivery snares you coolly. Refusing to relinquish romantic dreams our doomed host is basted in his own juices while the band plod heartily, with a very cute rhythmical dominance. Reassuring guitar gushes forth but the fretting concerns return to keep the mood dark. ‘Walk Away’ is weirder, with strong vocals ringing out as the band stand back, and again the words are hung out like ominous flags. Twinkly guitar, crisp drums and frankly exhibitionist bass undulate happily while groans inwardly, which is good, or it’d be a dour experience. By not mirroring the lyrical tone a vivacity occurs.
‘Wondering’ finds a drumming assassin let loose in a monastery. Worried vocals pursue his daring work and angry, jutting guitar roughs up the softening, rolling undertow. Driven, and with controlled incandescence, this is a sumptuous voyage made unusual with the rhythmical geography and only let down by the curious and unlikely end. ‘Looking Back’ is simple Goth, presenting the notion of decisive decisions and demonstrations of devotion. Pinpoint guitar filigree over mournful, podgy bass offsets the now boomy singer. ‘Reflections’ has further versatility and variety as the song floods with fluttering guitar and the rhythm chops down hungrily on the more desperate, dramatic declarations. The double vocals doesn’t work, but the resolute intensity does.
‘Taken’ will give you pause for thought. Emotional turbulence goes from anguish to dignified resignation and the music reverberates likewise, all put over with a heartfelt throb it’s like Furniture at their finest, for anyone who remembers. Guitar tweezers pull at the sullen face of ‘Never Again’, eventually encouraging some lusty bellowing which is striking. ‘Years’ is strident fluff by comparison albeit with a good drum kick and ‘Another Day’ rounds things off with perhaps a suitable case of misery, but does it concern someone that died, or slipped away? Either way it’s uncomfortable and makes for a fine close to an auspiciously stately success.
They’ve stood up, disturbing the mustiness, and it all looks and sounds good.