In the case of Publicist UK (the UK part being a particular curse bestowed upon acts of a more…ahem…”gothic” nature), the comparison is mainly down to Zachary Lipez’s baritone vocal. However, it owes just as much to Andrew Eldritch, Nick Cave and Brandon Flowers, as it does to Ian Curtis.
Musically, the group (David Obuchowski on guitar, Brett Bamberger on bass, and Municipal Waste’s Dave Witte on drums) have brought us a debut album that encompasses the fragility of post-punk, the overwrought nature of goth, and the attitude and bombast of metal.
It works, but only just.
The half-spoken Murder City Devils-esque vocals of ‘Cowards’ quickly gives way to a big Sisters style chorus, and the metal chugging riffs show that Publicist UK are not afraid to pepper their delicacies with the right amount of riffing. This contrasts with the more fragile and evocative guitar lines of ‘Slow Dancing’.
And what can you say about track number 3? ‘Levitate The Pentagon’ is quite simply one of the catchiest songs that your likely to hear all year, with its MASSIVE chorus and refrain of “You said” making it perfect for wide-armed dance divas in any nightclub crypt you’d care to mention.
‘Blood Relative’ is slower, with a Killers-like vocal and metallic finish, and once again features a great chorus, which unfortunately cannot be said of the next track.
‘I Wish You’d Never Gone To School’ may have a nice line in shimmering trem-picked guitar, but its rhyming of “school” and “fool” is clumsy, and quite unforgivable. But then…having said that, it is still strangely catchy.
The second half of the album is enlivened by the jerky ‘Telegraphing’. Its urgent bassline and female backing vocals proving quite frantic, but pitched against the sombre mood-piece dramas of ‘Canary’, ‘You Are The Stars’ and ‘Away’, the album as a whole starts to feel a little top-loaded.
‘Forgive Yourself’ is still a refreshing and commendable piece of cross-genre, and in some ways could be seen as the male equivalent of the 2013 album from Savages. It’s certainly a good debut, but one that may stand or fall depending on your tolerance to its vocal style, but at 40 minutes, the album doesn’t outstay its welcome. And if there’s any justice, ‘Levitate The Pentagon’ should be all over the dark club scene like a rash.
(6.5/10 Stuart Carroll)