The London-based, soundscape weaving, progressive post-rock doom outfit, which are fronted by Evi herself (But also includes bassist Matt Tye, drummer David ‘GB’ Smith and Korg/synth operator Steven Hill) have recently released their newest album, “Black // White // Light // Dark”, through Solemn Wave Records. Nothing special you’re thinking thus far, however, the album was recorded live in the studio with an assortment of guest musicians that really do peak your interest. With members of THE CURE, FIELDS OF THE NEPHILIM, FAUST and GOLDFRAPP all contributing to the record…this truly is an alt. rock ‘Supergroup’ project! Let’s check it out…
The six-track mini-album opens up with “I Am The Waves” and after some brief guitar fuzz we’re slowly dipped into a mire of miserably depressing instrumentation. The doom influences are beyond evident as this is so dense and bleak, though not heavy; the musical equivalent of a black hole absorbing all light around it. Vocally hushed, almost whispered in parts…singing “I am the waves; I am the ocean”…hopefully acting as a calm before the storm, as this body of water lays still, waiting to surge and crash around you. We follow this up with “Afterlight” and while initially more up-tempo with more groove and rhythm, the percussion and guitar’s take on more of that progressive influence. The beat and majority of the structural melody is off-kilter and disjointed, resulting in a somewhat trippy little track, though vocally there’s hardly any change.
Despite being a short album in terms of track listing, they make up for it in track length with “Sabbath” and “Sad Song No.9”…the former does, to its credit, give us our first taste of a proper riff and you hope that despite it’s near ten-minute run time, it’s finally waking up…though those hopes are dashed soon afterwards as once again we descend into a bleak, abyssal depth of damning boredom. When the guitars pick up, the intensity breathes SO much life into the instrumentation and you can’t help but be left wondering why couldn’t they maintain those heavier doom qualities? The instrumental climax is energetic and enjoyable but frankly it’s too little too late, while the latter then, being over eleven minutes long feels like the equivalent of watching a sloth complete the London marathon in real-time…congratulations are in order but I never want to have to watch that ever again.
The other remaining tracks “My Only Son” and “We Are Made Of Stars” sadly do nothing to balance the mood whatsoever and while there are sweet vocal displays and elegant string sections in the former, as Evi sings from the heart about a close friends suicide, it doesn’t rescue this record from its own pit of despair. With the talent surrounding this album, while not intending to have certain expectations or, typecast anyone creatively, you’d at least HOPE that here you’d find a decent to good alternative rock album with diverse ideas ranging from original post-punk to modern Goth-pop aesthetics…couple that with the progressive doom elements, and you allow for a really dynamic and interesting listen. Sadly what you DO get is comparable to a narcotics prescription; as you’ll likely find yourself bored into a deep slumber instead. It’s ambitious, it’s artsy and it’s atmospheric I’ll give it that, but from getting excited at the list of personnel, to listening to the finished product, it really is a case of day and night. Maybe the album’s title itself was trolling me all along? Speaking of, the album is that dull it practically used the same artwork as one of ARCHITECTS previous records; I mean they couldn’t even make an effort with THAT it would appear! All in all a disappointingly boring listen.