Thursday, October 2, 2014

Population : " Beyond the Pale"

This Chicago band is pretty convincing and right on time for Halloween. Rather than riding the night train to the easiest route to goth, the bands vocalist helps them sound like if the Cramps had taken a div into death-rock. The raw production makes this sound like it could have be recorded on a budget during the 80's. The archaic drum machine sounds they have dug up, help keep up the suspension of disbelief. They some times indulge themselves on interludes of samples and varied noises to create atmosphere.

The vocal delivery get weirder on "On Rubicon".The phrasing is over accented and dramatic.They fuse many of the styles which fell under the goth umbrella, be it post-punk, dark wave or deathrock. Their singer latches onto some pretty catchy melodies. On some song the results are more mixed than others, they take a more new wave melody and throw it against a oddly angular tapestry to see it it will stick on "Pray For Rain". The backing guitar track that buzzes like a tripping bee behind the main melody seems like the song is going in two directions at once. "Sleepwalker" proves to be a much smoother ride. The overwrought squeak to the vocals becomes endearing here. The vocals often find themselves sounding more like Valor than Rozz Williams when it comes to the manner of emoting.The gloom often feels like window dressing for these swirling new wave songs, sometimes finding themselves as dancey as "I'd Stop the World to Melt With You"

The guitar sounds best when locked into a hypnotic drone like the one it finds on "Spears of Silence". There song writing shows a knack of hooks in the vocal patterns to "True North",which also to some extinct makes these guys one of the first revivalist bands that winks in the direction of Fields of the Nephilim" mainly in the phrasing of the vocals and how their singer dips into a growl of his lower register . They creep their way out onto the German Dance floors on the shadowy "Volkslied". The quirk of the vocals tests it's limits. Trying to find the lines where emotive begins and absurd ends. The guitar tone also shines on "Wine On The Lilies", almost carrying the wavering effects upon it more like what a shoe-gaze band might employ, but on this swirling sway of a song it work, as it is not quite as dark as the bulk of the album. In most cases this would bring complaints, but these guys have established themselves as being morose enough for me so it's ok for them to come for a breather and stretch out into other emotional territory. This album is the kind of fun I want especially at this time of year. Some of the over the top vocal performances slightly  distract from the songs direction as the singer wanders around the song, not unlike some of Christian Death's less focused moments, but overall this album is enjoyable and the wacky vocals flux ate in such a manner it's hard to fault them so I 'll give this one a 9.

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