As a matter of principle I tend to ignore blurb, and just say what I think about whatever music I’m sent. On this occasion, arriving as it did with a very well presented digipack I gave the PR a read, and it was “all about Alternative Rock, Stoner Rock, Doom Metal with a vintage vibe.” Hmm? I know this may place me in a precarious position, but really? Maybe my idea of Rock, Stoner, and Doom is very “old school”, but very little of this very well composed album spoke of that sound. Righteo, preconceptions aside, time for the review.
‘Coal Soul Woman’ opens with a decent enough rock beat, but within seconds of the opening guitar riff, the vocal tone that defines the majority of the album kicks in. Rather then Stoner or Doom, this album constantly evokes the sound of late 80’s Top of the Pops Goth Light when the more mellow contributions of ‘The Mission’, ‘All About Eve’, ‘The Cult’ et al., briefly had a mainstream appeal, pop pickers and trendoids of yesteryear being able to assimilate the sound into NME friendly sound-bites. Is this a bad thing? Definitely not, as the charts of those days at least allowed for the appearance of some sounds that weren’t purely manufactured reality show pop and what now passes for R’n’B. I must stop ranting, and get back to the music. ‘People of the Dark’ keeps on with the darker tones and themes, but with a solid chugging beat to contrast the lyrics of disaffection.
‘Let the Darkness Rest in Peace’ has tones of Paradise Lost at their more melancholic, with an overtone of Nick Cave’s death obsession, the stripped back verses contrasting to the multi-layered production of the choruses, the distorted guitar break definitely jumping back a couple of decades in my mind. With ‘Ride’ there is more of a Doom sound, the heaviest riffs of the album lending a weightier companion to the angst ridden vocals, whilst with ‘King of Rage’ there is more then a hint of Placebo, albeit without the androgynous vocals, neatly wrapped up in a single friendly sub three minute package.
What is in many ways most impressive about this album is that it with the exception of female guest vocals on one track is the work of a duo, each taking multiple duties. I can only assume that to recreate this textured sound live, and their bio does list a fair few shows, would require extra touring players or a fair old electronic rig. If the two Mystons can do this with just drums, guitar, and vocals, kudos to them.