Friday, May 12, 2017
Gold : " Optimist"
This Dutch band is back, this time with more introspection to their gloom.
They kick the shadow fest off with "You Too Must Die" which carries more of a Chelsea Wolfe flavored drone than what I remember these guys having. Then they go into the more shoe-glazed rock of "Summer Thunder". The drums build the driving tension here. Their lead singers plaintive alto carries more of an indie rock indifference, where it was smokier on the first song. There is an almost Burzum like tremolo to the guitar of "White Noise" which is an apt title as it does have almost a murky Sonic Youth buzz to it. The vocals feel more raw and punk like to me hear like a teenager having a nervous break down. They linger there way into "Teenage Lust". The guitar melody is creepy and the vocals more of a mild whisper. I could imagine this song being used in a David Lynch movie. The vocals begin to sound like they almost want to be part of another song that the instrumentation under her is not making happen. There is a drone that never has the dynamic payoff I am looking for when it comes to that sort of thing.
They find a more sonic and aggressive pound to "No Shadow" the bass drives this song the hardest with the drums trying to race to keep up behind it, but this works. The vocals are much mellower than the music this contrast works here and the more exotic intervals she uses when sh chants what would be the chorus is perfect. The formula for what constitutes the sound that works for them is clearer by the time they get to "I Do My Own Stunts". This bass and drums drive things, the guitar accents it with some noise and the singer adds a sweeter icing to this cake. On this song it is all put together in a manner similar to that employed by Savages. The sing song manner she sings with here makes her sound like a teenager as she scolds "you do not repeat a lie". It's at this point in the album when I realize you can not fit what these guys are doing here into one neat sub-genre as they have taken elements of post-punk and merged them with shoe-gaze and the energy of punk tinged indie rock.
The drums once again form a more tribal tension on "Be Good" but the singer throws her voice up into her upper register here for a brief moment which I am glad to hear she has the pipes to do that if she wants and for the bulk of the album she has been holding back for the sake of serving the song. There is a more Siouxsie like smoothness to the tension on "Come With Me" though I can also hear Deborah Harry in the way the verses are phrased. The darkness is waiting underneath, but is only venting in angry bursts here and there. They go back to a shimmering post-rocky shoe gaze on "Tear" to close out things. Her vocals are lower and more brooding, though now I hear Deborah Harry in her voice I can't un-hear it. Overall I always like something that is this heavy sonically without being metal so I will give this one a 9.5 and see how it grows on me over the course of the year. This is being released on Van Records.