The two cold-wave pioneers who are comprised of A. Buchwald (guitars) and A. Gimpel (vocals) have apparently been around since 1983. Classic they may well be but for me the journey starts here as I have to admit to never having encountered them before. Descriptions of rock, dark wave and new wave aside one listen to Remain In Silence took me back to a different place than expected and lead song ‘Rain’ a particular standout number had me thinking of all sorts of eccentric artists from the past. In fact listening with a friend boxes were ticked and mentions of everyone from Talk Talk, The Chameleons, Pete Wiley, Furniture and Black were flying around the room. Ok this is not exactly prime Ave Noctum material but it does a good job on the atmospheric side of things and the album has proved a quite enjoyable throwback to times past as far as I am concerned.
The opening orchestration and feel of that first number also sites in melody the likes of Tears For Fears, OMD and even Aha. Two things are quickly evident, melody is incredibly strong and Gimpel’s vocals are rich and luxurious, easy to be put the listener at ease in and get them mesmerised. There is a melancholic air about it, hell a song about rain is hardly ever going to be cheerful unless you are The Cult but there is a feeling of gentle warmth and not a hint of danger to be found here. The best way of approaching the rest of this ¾ of an hour is to settle down and allow the music to soothe and relax you.
‘All Forgotten Times’ has a bit more of an electronic synth-pop side of things complete with a classic swoosh sliding doors type of effect. The theme of regression and looking back comes with a feel of regret and there is definitely a tinge of gloom about it before the mood is lightened with the toe-tapping noir-esque ‘Every Little Thing’ which has a certain magical sparkle about it. Remain In Silence do a good job of telling stories within their music and the identity of each song has its own distinct possibility which has you following both music and narrative. Listening to The Hunters I have to wonder if I would have followed them like a band such as Depeche Mode over the years if I had discovered them all those years ago. The gorgeously expressive and upbeat chorus of this number suggests it would have certainly been a journey worth taking over the decades.
At times this does move into the poppy side of things but the singer song-writing combination cannot be dismissed and is where the strength lies. Personal preferences and a want to dismiss what they are doing is forgotten as I am drawn in to songs like ‘Wrapped In Ice’ (reminiscent of a band like Blancmange) as at the end of the day commercial flair aside they sure know how to construct a good tune.
The very soul of this has taken me back to the very essence of a lot of British artists from the 80’s and although it would have been easy to reject reviewing this along with a couple of other discs from the label (bad pub rock and Finnish fretboard wanking) it was a trip that was worth taking. I’ll be coming back to this when I’m in a particularly regressive mood.
(7/10 Pete Woods)