A hundred years removed from their name, British post-punk brigade leave past behind to menace another century.
Here’s an album made in the face of adversity, 1919 soldiering on after their leader Mark Tighe passed away – in line with his last will and with the band’s pedigree, and spirit, unbroken thanks to the presence of original drummer Mick Reed and the resolve of post-millennium players. No wonder, then, that the quartet’s new songs – from the martyrdom dismissal of opener “Anxiety” to the hitching of hope in the questions-ridden “Man, Myth, And The Curse Of The Immortal” – reveal obsession with temporal vulnerability.
There’s nothing vulnerable, though, about the group’s sound: still thick and glossy on “Aurora” and its likes, still booming in an aloof way, as Rio Goldhammer’s vocals get ensconced in self-righteous reverie where reality check is a requirement for instrumental focus. That’s why, while the inflammatory “Radicals” adheres to pop controversy and “Speak Now” gradually ups the degree of rage, “Isolation” sees a shoegazing dance given a shot of riffs from freshman Sam Evans’s effervescent six strings. It would take some time for the title track to finally produce some sharp spikes, and for “Dali Alarma” to arrange anger management around existential puns.
Perhaps, “Stop The World” is too glacial so the piece’s message doesn’t really register with the listener, yet “Where Are You Now?” has enough piano-enhanced heaviness attached to it to warrant another spin in search of a meaning behind the ensemble’s “Truth can be a bitch” statement. Without pandering to paranoia, this might be the way of going forward and keeping the future – the world’s and the collective’s – safe.