Got a groove but legs can’t dance when Californian trio creep away from the sun.
“Are you – to die of boredom? See them? – They drown in sorrow”: one can assume this ensemble wear a smile under musical murk, but their debut album hides its fangs behind tight lips. With the group’s gaze firmly grounded on the usual suspects’ shoes, and specters of MBV and NEW ORDER looming large, there’s little plush to the electric gloom, where pulsing veins bulge in a rather monotonous manner, although there’s also something riveting about it.
“1799” may start things off with a nebulous riff which gets smeared with synthetic emotions that even “Electric” can’t fix, despite unexpected effects invading this piece’s darkwave pulse via Philip Obens’ keyboard chords, yet”Doublespeak” – the proper pop song on display – will lift the black veil for a while. A smile is discernible in “Cherry Dancer” through the haze of Tony Lee Jackson’s guitar figures to come to the light for “Dark Hair Girl” – and disappear in the title track’s silky lyricism. Still, the streamlined run of “Velvet Holiday” aside, life in these cuts is quite feeble – and “Zombie Birds” seems to acknowledge it – albeit “Decor Blonde” has dry grandeur in spades to impress a goth aficionado.
It’s only when an acoustic throb is revealed in the heart of “This Blurry Kill” – where, accidentally, dimness and focus get swapped – the band’s real soul can be seen: a precious sight, indeed. That’s something to dance forward to, legless or otherwise.