mick mercer -
AMONGST THE RUNES
Ooh, I also got sent a limited (100 copies) CD of rarities ‘Boulevard Of Broken Dreams: Volume 1’ which I’d downloaded previously from their site (they have another free set in their ‘Audio’ section now), but it’s lovely to have it in a sleeve. I’ll run through that in the next issue of THE MICK. For now we have last year’s EP to consider, which provides ample evidence why they’re one of the more steadfast and reliable of Gothic Rock bands. Indeed, if you can’t appreciate their developing style and studied quality you probably don’t get Goth in the first place. It has a different feel to some of the previous work but contains the same characteristics, with a clipped energy, bursts of hot and cold, and a determined economy to bring out their melodic best. They like to change through time, which is a good sign, and even manage to be both chipper and beset by doom.
‘Amongst The Runes’ moves forward smoothly, the rhythm matched by the keyboards and vocal delivery everything hypnotically regimented, guitar held back but decorative over prudent drums. The sound takes on an alien remoteness for ‘Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun’ which skitters by over scooped out percussion and a loping beat with the guitar flaying itself softly.
‘War Of Love’ has a poignant beauty with strings and acoustic tucked in behind the forlorn vocals, although I didn’t quite grasp the lyrical point. ‘Nowhere To Turn’ rides a thorny dark guitar, then opens up with a tepid flow growing hotter, including some gorgeously gawf guitar and more pottery electronic incursion, with relentless vocal guidance as it slices through on its linear bent. ‘Stalag 13’ couldn’t be better placed to mix optimism with a grim tone, as looking forward to freedom and losing loved ones are pitted together over a tense slow step. Then it’s an extended ‘Among The Runes’ skipping about and we’re done.
There’s a new album this year too. Me happy.