Glitter and Grime Make Me Shine, It’s Review Writing Time

Another Wed in mid November and I have the Oscura Festival fast approaching. This may be my last chance until December to write some reviews of the glorious new music that is being released. As always these are darkscene bands that have caught my attention and need to be shared. If you have a release we need to hear hit us up on Sounds and Shadows.

Modal CitizanIdolatry – The lads from Virginia beach have released a new 4 song EP. Have you ever wondered what if NIN “The Downward Spiral” and Clutch engaged in unholy union to spew forth a jagged baseball bat rolled in broken glass and started taking wild swings at an unsuspecting populous sounded like? Now you need not wonder. Horror film builds and chaotic drum beats, thunderous funk metal bass from Sean Waff, and screeching heart string vocals from Ryan Jones. I love the tight turn into electronic dance beats from their November 2020 album “Control Alter Deplete“. They really comprehend the power of dynamic contrast to tell a story. Adam Fueston unleashes slashing electro whip guitars that pick just the right moment to sear their impact. It’s mean, it’s jaded, it’s rowdy.

Favorite Track: Expanse – A true emotional firehose that encapsulates the anger and aggression while baring the quiet emotional turmoil of keyboards and poetry. Jones goes deep into character thrashing and jerking like a person processed by a demon riding a bull.

Previous interview and video Premier

https://modalcitizan.bandcamp.com/album/idolatry

Sapphira VeeBreath of You – I always love a new single from Sapphira, I especially love it when it goes to such an important cause. Cat Hall, a cervical cancer survivor, agreed to collaborate on this single, as well as our good friend Jim Marcus of Go Fight contributing a remix, having lost his mother to cervical cancer. This single is being released in the month of October, in observance of Women’s Cancer Awareness Month. The track also has remixes from frequent contributor Melodywhore, Ratio Strain, and Federico Balducci. Sapphira shows a Cheshire cat grin to her voice. The deep buzzing pad synths move like columns of stone while the chanting words preach a resilience and vulnerability. Each version creates a vastly different tone to the core concept. Another spot on powerful offering blending dancefloor accessibility and personal trauma.

Favorite Track: Breath of You ft. Cat Hall/Dissonance – The blending of two powerful woman producers/vocalists will leave me floored every time. Add onto that the warrior princess delivery and subject matter and you have a cocktail which is smoky, burning, and filled with introspection.

https://sapphiravee.bandcamp.com/

Rohn – LedermanVenus Chariot – My love for Belgian composer extraordinaire Jean-Marc Lederman is deeply known on this page. His previous work includes ( Fad GadgetThe TheGene Loves JezebelThe Weathermen) as well as some of the most thought provoking higher tier concepts in electronica music of the past 5 years. Teaming here with COP International and exceptional producer/Vocalist Emiliegh Rohn of Michigan they blend into a poetic electrified katana of grace and fury. I have spoken of this record in the Sounds and Shadows group but was shocked I had yet to write a formal review. When I hear someone of Jean-Marc’s pedigree say “This might be one of the most important albums I have ever released” it tends to make your ears perk up. This album is full of endless fusion energy both in the intricate hair splitting craft of the music, and Emileigh’s power whisper beauty. it’s the record I reach for whenever I need to force my body into action. A well of strength at your fingertips for these draining times. Greg Rolfes provides cover art to set the tone of this runaway stampede of electronic elegance.

Favorite Tracks:

All The Little Things Left For Dead Go Unsaid (a.k.a. “The River”) – The slow tempo balled rich with waterfall emotion and connecting poetry. This beautiful piano composition with tugs the heart strings. The haunting whisper of vocals that shut out the world. This song has a captivating beauty in the vein of Life On Mars.

Destruction and More – This is a faster paced defiant and layered builder. The music keeps stepping forward a heavy foot at a time through gale winds. Ending in a fist raised chant of war. A true tribute to Athena in it’s brazen energy and feminine power.

https://rohn-lederman.bandcamp.com/?fbclid=IwAR2L63E2Kk3OSqS5V8slCHssyU7pgp1EC1xXafPSpdNN0apSQajJx_y9puI

The Ending NightsA Landscape To Die – Pre-Order available for the newest offering of Pedro Code (IAMTHESHADOW) of Portugal on Cold Transmission Music. A definingly dark apocalyptic disco drive produced and mastered by Pedro for a soul wrenching personal explosion. Jagged glass drenched in rainbow oil and water. How do you take one of the most distinctive voices in modern goth/darkwave when you find a way to make the steaming disco beats the star of the show you have really broken ground. This is a record that creates a world. Grime and desolation, the remaining survivors of a broken world follow the electric pulse of a melody from within. A perfect anthem for these fractured times.

Favorite Track: No Light – Hearing something so melodic and pure as Pedro’s voice swimming through a channel of filth and grit that is beautiful and terrifying. This macbre nightmare of insomnia and slow grinding destruction. Another layer of depth and complexity for a proven talent.

https://theendingnights.bandcamp.com/album/a-landscape-to-die

Curse MackeyLacerations – Brand new single and remixes from legendary Texas Industrial artist Curse Mackey (Pigface, My Life With The Thrill Kill Cult, Evil Mothers). Featuring remixes by  Twin Tribes, Steven Olaf, and Chase Dobson. I love the concept shift from gothic electro ritual on “Instant Exorcism” into nihilism Tokyo drift shadow synthwave. A effortless cool grinding prayer as the world crashes down and leaves you nothing to lose.

https://cursemackeyngp.bandcamp.com/

El Clan Somos Nuestro Peor Miedo – New album from legendary Mexico City dark rockers El Clan. There is something distinctive and powerful with true shadow swirl ritual rock delivered in Spanish. The fluttering trill of the guitar. The heavy strikes on backbeat snares. Gustavo Perez Ramirez has such a unique and dynamic range to his vocals. Rumbling growls, silver shining melodies, and sand swirling blasts of power. El Clan continues to encapsulate a burning flavor and haunting sound that puts them on a pinnacle of Mexican darkscene .

Favorite Track: Dios Universo – The opening light touch driving guitar riff set a tone of danger and action. Gustavo growls out a opening salvo of edge and anger. Then quickly changes lanes to a sorrowful melody. It’s a perfect homage to historical hard rock feel and modern dark progressive.

Black Rose BurningThe Wheel – George Grant of New York has taken an already amazing sound to a completely different level. This new album is progressive, complex, expertly executed emotional darkscene that permeates the skin and resonates in the chest. These vocals harken to a previous time of dripping Peter Gabriel emotion that spiral in crystal facets on top of shifting translucent hooks. It ebbs and flows through a stylistic spectrum and delivers with every memorizing tale. I continue to be blown away by one of the most criminally overlooked master songsmiths of our scene. This is a record that needs mainstream attention.

Favorite Track: An Anthem For The Strange – When the title says anthem, they are not exaggerating. These drums are rolling and trance building. George’s vocals ring through with a clarity and power that convey emotion. A warm and glowing starlight that wraps all of us freaks and outliers together in a sparkling blanket of togetherness.

https://blackroseburning.bandcamp.com/album/the-wheel

Follow The Leaders (A Killing Joke Tribute)

Coitus Interruptus Productions quotes writer Steve Taylor from his 2006 book, The A to X of Alternative Music, as saying “Killing Joke have inspired all dark music since 1981” going on to posit that “Scrape the surface of just about any Industrial Metal or Alternative Rock band worth their salt, and you’ll find some aspects of the prolific and powerful Killing Joke.”

With that bold statement, they bring us Follow the Leaders (A Killing Joke Tribute), an 11 track compilation that dares to take on the challenge of honoring one of the greatest progenitors of the post-punk/industrial metal genre.

Snowbeasts start it off right with their take on the KJ classic Wardance. Primal rhythms with a darkly polished sheen. This wardance knows it’s not just about brutality and wounds its prey with  subtle efficient strikes… Makes you wanna pogo along like a flashback to an 80’s punk show by way of a Berlin discotheque. 

From there we move onto Element, and their version of Turn to Red. Element trades the punk reggae vibes of the original for more darkwave sound and turns up the dub a bit to make this one hard not bob your head to its tranced out vibe.

Next, The Blue Hour brings us The Gathering. I am not sure how they do it, but TBH takes this classic Killing Joke track, and channels the ghosts of Bow Wow Wow, and still makes the track sound fresh.

Riotgun takes on the herculean task of covering one of the most well known KJ tracks, Eighties. You have to give these guys credit… This is the one track that I had the most concern about when I heard about this compilation. Yet I think they do an admirable job of keeping the aggression in place and not turning in an unintentional parody of the original. Hats off to Riotgun… Well played!

Here in the middle of the group, we find three of the best tracks of the compilation in my opinion…

Shhadows brings us a dreamy, trip hop inspired version of my all time favorite Killing Joke song Love Like Blood. For all its dreamy, spaced out qualities, it still keeps its power.

Trance to the Moon tackles Love of the Masses. This song hits me with the same angst of a song like Love Like Blood from a new direction, and I feel the pain in every note that vocalist Monet Alarie hits. Like a love gone wrong, it leaves you longing for another kiss.

And rounding out this triad of greatness is The Joy Thieves (featuring I Ya Toya) with Money is Not Our God.  Ania Tarnowska, takes no prisoners with her vocals on this bombastic assault against capitalism, propelled through the night by the punishing rhythms courtesy of Dan Milligan and crew.

On The Death and Resurrection Show, Missing Witness brings us a version of the song that we might have seen if Jaz and the Gang had gotten snared in the Wax Trax net circa 1986. The track evokes the feel of Ministry tracks The Angel and Over the Shoulder. Very cool old-school Chicago industrial vibes here.

The Raygun Girls bring those Big Paul Ferguson Beats to the front of the line on their take on  Hosannas from the Basements of Hell. This is the most Killing Joke like track on the whole record, yet doesn’t cross that line over into cover band purgatory.

This World Hell by Dead Receptors is an interesting track full of contradictions. Its brutalist vocals and staccato clipped synths are weighted down by the sleazy/funky bass and drums that remind me of great tracks like Golgotha Tenement Blues from Machines of Loving Grace. 

And finally, HadesMachine shows us out with Euphoria. A Goth rock banger tinged with siren call synths pleading for us to show some urgency, like a vampire biker gang racing against the dawn.

Overall this compilation curated by Coitus Interruptus Productions is a worthy tribute to one of the great pioneers of the post-punk/industrial sound. Go pick it up as a pay what you want offering at: https://coitusinterruptusproductions.bandcamp.com/album/follow-the-leaders-a-killing-joke-tribute

‘Slow Crush’ Redefines Shoegaze with Sophomore Album “Hush”

The incredible Belgian band, Slow Crush, has been making a name for itself in the post-punk and shoegaze scenes for the last few years. They’ve been called “My Bloody Valentine with a post-hardcore edge” by Guitar World and are described as “the sound to a beautiful alternate reality” by Kerrang. Now they’re bringing their dreamy and abrasive sound to the next level in their latest full-length album “Hush”.

“Hush” album cover

I can’t start to tell you how much I love this album. After listening through it the first time, I was hooked. If you’re a lover of pedal driven music, you will too.

This album will take you many places with it’s simultaneous offering of harsh abrasiveness and delicate dreaminess. While the instruments are fluid and the vocals are angelic, the entire album has a pleasing fullness and overarching heaviness that makes even the harshest sounds favorable and welcomed in abundance.

“Hush” is the sophomore album by Slow Crush which exceeds it’s incredible predecessor “Aurora”. With shimmering melodies, soothing vocals by Isa Holliday, noise and chaos added on top, this album brings next-level emotion and intensity. The album was born from the ideas floated around between tour gigs in the beforetimes and brought to life by the worldwide lockdowns caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s because of these circumstances that the album can both be light and melodic while carrying the weight of the world outside.

Slow Crush

Drown: The opening track of the album which sets the tone for the what follows. With shimmering guitars and whirling noises, this song makes me feel like I’m seeing the world through frosted glass. There’s no way to describe how beautiful this track is. With dual vocals, a simple strumming guitar, and keyboard creating a lush atmosphere, I had tears in my eyes and couldn’t wait to hear the rest.

Swoon: This songs pace is a little faster. Opening with a crash of noise and drum fills, this track quickly takes a dark, pulsating turn. Throughout the song, there’s an amazing showcase of grinding guitars, obscure noises, and dissonant vocals that somehow create an absolutely beautiful post-rock track.

Lull: This is the first single released off the album and it’s the perfect track to showcase how heavy and beautiful this band can be. The song starts and it seems like it’s going to be soft and pretty. When the drums and guitars kick in, the song layers up. Without lacking in beauty, the overdriven guitars create a wave of loudness that gives me goosebumps. Check out the video below!

Official Music Video for “Swoon” by Slow Crush

This album will surely make your album of the year list if you love shoegaze and post-punk. With walls of sound, celestial-like vocals, and shimmering instruments, “Hush” will throw you back to your favorite artists like My Bloody Valentine and Godspeed You! Black Emperor, while adding some new spices to the mix.

“Hush” will be available October 22, 2021 on vinyl, cd, and digital download via Quiet Panic. Also, stay tuned for updates on the bands upcoming WORLD tour!

Cold Waves – The Getaway Camp of the Goth/Industrial Scene

COLD WAVES is a celebration of Chicago’s relationship with industrial music, the memory of a fallen brother, and a fundraiser for suicide prevention charities. In the summer of 2012, Chicago lost one of its most loved and respected sound engineers and musicians, Jamie Duffy. His work ethic and ingenuity in the local music scene was a gift to many musicians. His abrupt passing had a profound effect on the electronic and metal music communities he meant so much to. In need of healing and hope, we brought 14 bands together for one magical night that year to raise money for Jamie’s family and say goodbye. But in the end, it was more of an awakening… a rebirth… a breaking wave. The success of the show pushed us to build it into an annual event, stretching over a weekend and moving it to Chicago’s iconic Metro.

Cold Waves means a lot. It is a true culmination of everything great about this scene. People from all over the world coming together to meet and celebrate music, art, unity, and holding each other up through the darkest times. To remember Jamie and everyone who felt lost and alone. A hope that the scene will be there to lend strength to someone else in trauma tomorrow. It’s first and foremost a celebration of what makes life worth living. Music, art, friendship, and empathy. I attended this year Saturday and Sunday. To see old friends and new. To hear music that will lift my heart at a time I need it most. That is what really makes this special, more than a music festival. Especially in this time of pandemic when our online friendships have become something real to sustain us. This four day festival attended by fans and artists from all over the world turns faces on a screen into reality. A summer camp of outcasts that return each year to bask in the glow of music and lights. I previously covered Thursday and Friday so I will pick up on Saturday night.

Saturday Night!
Photo by Matt Fox

“You’ll hear the term “family” thrown around Cold Waves a lot. It’s true. For a lot of us it’s the place we all have a reunion. I get to see friends in the crowd and on stage from all over the world, and since it’s in Chicago, the U.S. Mecca of industrial, you’ll see people from the Wax Trax hey day just walking around and chatting with everyone. There’s a real sense and respect for the history of industrial– past, present, and future. It’s always a joy being a part of it, whether performing or as a spectator.” Matt Fanale (Caustic/Klack/Daddybear)

Panterah – Information about this Chicago electronic artists is a tad hard to track down. No bandcamp page, instagram, youtube. You can still find releases of their previous incarnation Fee Lion. Large crowd from the beginning drawn in to these razor nails up your back danger pop. Great set to fill you with intrigue for the future of this project and the future of the night.

Provoker – LA based slushy layered dark alternative casting smoky hues through color gels. Lovely range to the vocals but every part of that spectrum is gorgeous. On a night with so much electronic magnificence it was wonderful to hear this driving fuzzy guitar centered sound. I didn’t know much going in, but I was completely won over and eagerly await the new album.

https://provoker.bandcamp.com/album/body-jumper

Photo by Chris Christian

ADULT. – So I have seen Detroit based ADULT 4 times, shockingly never in Detroit where I am from. Adult is one of those artist that is an experience more than a band. A stage show of bouncing bolts of electricity cascading around the room. Humming electronic waves that create a vehicle for high brow lyrical concepts and husky chanting vocals. I love how through decades they continue to find a way to be on the edge of an evolving scene. The performance sent people running to the stage wondering what is happening and how can I get more.

https://adultmusic.bandcamp.com/track/release-me

Photo by Whitney Flaherty

Barker and Connelly – Two living legends putting aside all pretention and just having fun together shredding the ever loving shit out of a set while the audience stared in raptured attention. Two members of Ministry just smiling and unloading sonic obliteration in a shimmering drift between styles and intensity. This performance was just what you would hope for. They are preforming for the LA Cold Waves and if you have the chance, trust me don’t miss this.

https://chrisconnelly.bandcamp.com/album/graveyard-sex

Photo by Whitney Flaherty

 Front 242 – Speaking of living legends. Belgium EBM pioneers brought a performance energy and excitement and 25 year old would be proud of. Including unveiling a new track. It’s madness that in 2021 a band I saw when I was 15 is still unleashing such unbridled energy in a live performance. As Chase Dobson said “Front 242, yes that Front 242”

Photo by Whitney Flaherty

https://front242.bandcamp.com/

Before the performance Sunday I got to have another amazing experience. A chance to go have pancakes with Martin Atkins at the Post Punk Industrial Museum. It was a dream come true for the experiences and stories he shared. Everyone needs to see this for themselves.

https://martinatkins.bigcartel.com/category/museum-of-post-punk-and-industrial

Photo by Whitney Flaherty

WINGTIPS – Chicago breakout Dreamwave band I have seen two other times. Never like this though. This performance was another level. It just tells me that they keep growing and elevating. After witnessing some mainstays with decades of performance under their belts, to hear someone open Sunday night full of exponential growth built my excitement for the whole night. In my opinion it was the standout performance of the night. It can be a razor line riding between nostalgia and modern. Wingtips do that with fearless precision and theatrical flare. After just two albums, I hunger for what their future holds.

Photo by Whitney Flaherty

https://wingtips.bandcamp.com/

This song is an unquestionable JAM
Photo by Whitney Flaherty

Riki – LA based song siren who I had shockingly never heard before the festival. I think the best word to describe this performance is vibrant. The music has a very new wave throwback sound and the vocals are delivered with a series of bright and brilliant hues. The call and answer dueling delivery was a dialog full of soul and passion. I was an instant fan. A crackling sexy energy that flows through your limbs and demands movement.

https://riki.bandcamp.com/album/gold

Photo by Whitney Flaherty
Photo by Whitney Flaherty

Bootblacks – Brookland post punk darlings are on a rocketship of growth and excitement. They have the look, they have the moves, they have a sound that rings unique in a rising tide of the post punk style. Every time I see them I am watching a better band. Larry is an absolute beast on the drums, maybe the best in the scene. When you build on a base of that much fury and power, it makes everything else ring out with a performance that leaves you changed. The communication between each part is a type of family energy from the band that can’t be faked. The way each transition and timing happens without a pinprick of space between. Panther’s confidence and ownership of the audience has reached a real maturity and control. It feels like seeing Nick Cave, in his ability to make a large room feel intimate. Barrett and Alli are playing a complex match of high speed electric tennis sending melodies and leads back and forth in neon chaos. This is one of those bands people will be saying “I was there that night” ten years from now.

Photo by Whitney Flaherty
Barrett Hiatt

“Getting to play Cold Waves the first time around in 2019, was a huge honor. It’s a perfect blend of some of our favorites as well as a new wave of fresh faces, many of whom we’ve had the pleasure of sharing stages with around the world. But in addition to the show itself, Cold Waves in general is a community of like minded lovers of the scene. Some of the friendliest people we’ve ever come across. We were welcomed with open arms the first time around, but to be invited to come back and play this year felt triumphant. The love we received the whole weekend after 2 years of not being able to play shows, was so reaffirming and desperately needed. Everyone involved, staff, crew, security, organizers, bands, and of course, the fans, all came together and gave us memories that we will hold onto for the rest of our lives. We are eternally grateful. Barrett Hiatt (Bootblacks)

Photo by Whitney Flaherty

https://bootblacks.bandcamp.com/album/thin-skies-remixed

Photo by Whitney Flaherty

Korine – The Philly based TranceGaze act which are beauty encapsulated in their sound and aesthetic. I had never seem them live before this night and it took my breath away. You can feel the sound pouring over your skin like cool clean water. Seeing that crowd sway in sync with each song, it was a psychic dream and we were all sharing it in that moment. I will never miss a chance to see this band again.

https://korine.bandcamp.com/album/sunshine

Photo by Whitney Flaherty

Stabbing Westward – Then a special treat happened. LA’s Electro rock masters SW took the stage and I was transported to my bedroom as a 16 year old kid, mad because some girl done me wrong. Chris’s voice isn’t just preserved, it’s sharper and cleaner. They played a cover of The Cure’sBurn” and I don’t say this lightly, it sounded better than Robert Smith. I was even blown away when some tech issues arose and Chris shifted into stand up comedian story teller mode and kept the crowd in the palm of his hand. It was dynamic, it was emotional, it was everything you want from a rock show. My knees were shaking, and then they played “Save Yourself”…I tried hard not to be a mark for the single, but I couldn’t stop. I got misty and belted along.

Photo by Whitney Flaherty

https://stabbingwestward.bandcamp.com/

This isn’t just a festival, it isn’t just four days of heat stopping music. It’s a scene coming together for a wonderful cause and embracing each other. Holding each other up in dark times and saying we share something. Music matters and can still be the bond that ties us. If you feel like this has been missing, plan a trip for 2022. We are all waiting for you. We are all ready to be your people.

Actors – “Acts Of Worship”

There is a shift that has happened in modern music, of how music is released. A focus on speed and constant content of singles in the streaming world. The art of tension and anticipation between releases has become an artform which has fallen by the wayside. In 2018 Actors released “It Will Come To You”. It captured the imagination of the scene which propelled them as a modern voice for a genre based in nostalgia. Three years later that title that won over new wave of Post Punk/Synth fans has come to ring all the more true. The slow gleaming trickle of singles leading to the promise of a sophomore album have fallen like individual raindrops on the thirsty tongues of their growing fanbase. The addition of a new bass player Kendall Wooding adds another element to the chemical reaction. The patient crafting of new songs which hold that emotional connection, while growing in complexity and range. The story of Actors has always been one of communication and relationships within the human experience. “Acts of Worship” elevates that connection to explore the spiritual macro concepts which bind us together.

Acts of Worship | ACTORS (bandcamp.com)

Kendall Wooding

Going to do something a little different for this review because I am so invested. A song by song breakdown of my impressions:

Love U More – A delicate symphonic intro that opens the curtain. Jason’s voice is sorrowful and and ripe with longing. The chorus is a perfect way to display this fresh sound of collaboration. A true harmony of individual styles. Shannon’s vocal’s fire forth with a confidence and balance that leaves you looking up to the sky. I love the clear heavy footed walk of the bass. The flickering electric street lights of the guitar lead. This track is here to set the scene. To re-introduce beloved characters and place them in a new adventure. The most striking aspect is how much the concept of the song feels uncharted. The genre is familiar. The style distinctly Actors. The texture and melody feels like the future. Something we have yet to hear.

Like Suicide – It can be hard to separate an artist from art. When people hear “The Joshua Tree” by U2 these days the first thing that pops to mind is a Bono joke. The impact that album had with it’s ballads in particular. A voice so dripping with mystery and unfettered passion. A romantic beauty in a time of consumerism. That lost concept is what stirs within me in this soul barring heart dancer. It’s a catchy croon that glows with soul. That place where what is pleasing to the ear and painful to the heart go to share the struggle and triumph of life.

Cold Eyes – A forceful driver of city lights blurring as a they pass by the passenger window. Love this overlapping guitar part between muted crunch and crackling lead. The singing has a voices in your head surrealism. A hallucination effect that leaves you questioning what is real. I think this song has a classic Actors feel which helps connect “Acts of Worship” to “It Will Come To you”. This is the preservation of continuity song.

Obsession – This song felt personal for me. We all have felt this isolated time to dwell on people or things we are missing. Swirling shadows in the water, violet hues and reflected neon light. Jason’s voice takes on that airy Ian McCulloch beauty. Letting you sink within your own destructive thoughts and lose yourself between the water and the mist. One of the deepest most revealing moments of honesty. This song in particular felt like a real look behind the bands eyes.

Photo by Pedro Santos

Death From Above – What a glorious tone shift. I found myself transported like a World War 2 fighter pilot blazing towards a synthwave animated landscape. The hook and harmony of this track is captivating. The strong down strike percussion that personifies the aerial assault. The record player effect of the vocals enhanced the vintage feel to create a sharp contrast against the digital soul of the music.

Killing Time – Strong opening of magnetic fuzz on the guitars. The shifting polarities kept me bouncing around the room. The last two years has seen time slipping past us. Days bleed together and we need to force ourselves into these moments. I love the tension breaking shouts of “Hey” to stir a unity and freeze frame. An anthem to stop the push and pull of life and hold us in this moment until the pull sends us back into a volley. I am impressed by the ambition of this track. It pulls off the difficult task of complexity without sounding complex.

Photo by Pedro Santos

Only Lonely – The bouncing funky bass line of this track has huge John Taylor emotions. Jason swings into a husky whisper on vocals. A secret that pulls you in and sets you up for the call and answer chorus. A much brighter and meringue peaked dessert tone. The lyrics still deliver a pang of longing to add shape and depth to one of the most tender fashion walk singles on the album.

Strangers – Another engulfing single on an album full of singles. Strangers hits on all cylinders. The lyrics paint a picture in beautifully blended water colors. The music is that razors edge of expansive synthetic beauty and sizzling rock energy. I feel like this is Jason’s strongest vocal performance. Utilizing everything he does well at it’s highest peak. It is decisive, emotional, and resonates with a concept which relates and challenges. This is the type of powerful track lost in the modern age full of poetry and delivery. A true modern classic. My top track on a top album.

End of the World – A nice tension building intro for a cosmic journey watching the world grow small. The radio announcer crackle effect on the vocals creates weight and acceptance of a world slipping away. That progressive keyboard line pushes to center stage and sets the tone of emotional longing for La petite mort. As life hurtles towards uncertainty we take a journey of acceptance. This was one of the most musically powerful tracks. A haunting tone of post apocalyptic hope in a desolate moment.

Photo by Pedro Santos

Once More With Feeling – The ending of a journey of one of the most complete records of the modern era. To say it leaned into the epic and expansive is an understatement. This song has a true OK Computer emotional range and scope. We have witnessed the end of the world, but are left with a resurrection and resilience. To push on, to survive while towers of magma shoot into the sky of a new world. I love that instead of going out on a single, instead we are played out into a promise of future adventure. A glimpse on the horizon of a world to come.

Acts of Worship” Is going to change the standard. Rather than think of it as an album out of time. Hear it as the type of puncturing emotional thought pieces we talk about as nostalgia from a previous era. I choose to see the hope it promises. To be a place where those that remember the past, and those that are blazing new ground in the future meet. Where they say this was the moment where the music we talk about twenty years from now with a new generation is remembered. It’s a powerful feeling that you can be apart of now.