Introduction

It might have come to your attention that I'm not a regular poster of love and understanding, which you will just have to get used to. I will however, have bursts of creativity where I move completely randomly from post to post with no rhyme or reason.

Some of the rips are my own, but many more are from other blogs on the interweb and I’m sharing the wealth.

Should you have any Questions, Comments, Ideas, Re-up Requests or just general straight forward Requests post them in the relevant comments boxes and I’ll get back to you.

Wednesday

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - Let Love In


Long-time Cave boardsman Tony Cohen oversees things, and from the first track, one can hear the subtle arrangements and carefully constructed performances. Love, unsurprisingly, takes centre stage of the album. Besides concluding with a second part to "Do You Love Me?," two of its stronger cuts are the (almost) title track "I Let Love In," and "Loverman," an even creepier depiction of lust's throttling power so gripping that Metallica ended up covering it. On the full-on explosive front, "Jangling Jack" sounds like it wants to do nothing but destroy sound systems, strange noises and over modulations ripping throughout the song. The Seeds can always turn in almost deceptively peaceful performances as well, of course; standouts here are "Nobody's Baby Now," with a particularly lovely guitar/piano line, and the brooding drama of "Ain't Gonna Rain Anymore." The highlight of the album, though, has little to do with love and everything to do with the group's abilities at music noir. "Red Right Hand" depicts a nightmarish figure emerging on "the edge of town," maybe a criminal and maybe something more demonic. Cave's vicious lyric combines fear and black humour perfectly, while the Seeds' performance redefines "cinematic," a disturbing organ figure leading the subtle but crisp arrangement and Harvey's addition of a sharp bell ratcheting up the feeling of doom and judgment.

Tuesday

Lalo Schifrin - Cool Hand Luke O.S.T.


Following on from the extremely successful post for Bruce Lee’s “Enter The Dragon” O.S.T., What we’ve got here, is failure to communicate…

Of all the film scores Lalo Schifrin has composed -- good and bad, and yes, he's done some stinkers -- the score to Stuart Rosenberg's 1967 film Cool Hand Luke, a star vehicle for Paul Newman, is among his greatest achievements. First, there is the score itself, pure cinema in scope, breadth, and architecture. Next is its attempted marriage to bluegrass music -- not entirely successful, but pretty great anyway -- and finally there is Schifrin's attempt to offer an actual view of the character through the score, not just provide a series of incidentals to accompany the movement of a plot. The complexities of Newman's Luke are borne out in a score that works futuristic themes (like the CNN-meets-Star Trek music for the "Tar Sequence," the most problematic in the film), gorgeous jazz elements (just check out "Lucille," a seductive love theme if there ever was one), and bluegrass concepts into a framework where they were needed but would be obtrusive no matter where they were placed -- like Luke himself. This shows through loud and clear on "Egg-Eating Contest," even if Schifrin's sensibilities run closer to Jobim than Bill Monroe. There is also the delightful, Stephen Foster-ish theme called "Plastic Jesus," with Tommy Tedesco playing a sweet banjo and guitar over a lush, melancholy string arrangement. It's here that the drama in the film turns into the only fate a character like Luke can have befall him. Immediately after this beautiful interlude comes a heavily reverbed psychedelic banjo that threatens to rip the insides out of "Foggy Mountain Breakdown," but instead becomes a suspenseful meditation on clarity called "I Got My Mind Back." The knowledge of all that transpired previously is clearly in every wash of the strings over the harp. "Ballad of Cool Hand Luke" is heard as the beginning of the last third of the film comes into play. A harmonica carries its melody against a backdrop of horns, electric guitars, and percussion. It's almost like Fred Neil's "Everybody's Talkin'," as scored by Jobim during his Warner Bros. period. As "Dog Boy" begins to signal the beginning of the end, brass and a rumbling piano challenge one another momentarily as a wash of strings and a bongo find their place in the mix to carry its drama. The castanets spot-check the horns and winds, changing the dynamic from tense to unbearable, and escalating that sensation three times inside as many minutes. Here, though, the end title doesn't end the score: There are bonuses that weren't part of the original film. As the reverie of the end title played so simply by Tommy Tedesco becomes a poignant memory of the film's hero and his struggle -- as well as his laughter -- listeners will find themselves wanting more, as did viewers of the film. Here, after the soundtrack is over, Lalo and Donna Schifrin have provided listeners with two large bonuses: One is a gorgeous symphonic sketch -- almost seven minutes long -- of the various themes in Cool Hand Luke, and the other is a lost treasure, the original recording of "Down Here on the Ground," recorded by everybody from Wes Montgomery to Gerald Wilson to Oscar Peterson. It's a straight-up jazz melody, languid, wistful, and beautiful in its elegantly swinging whispers and sliding, dancing grace. What a bonus! This makes Cool Hand Luke, in stunning 16-bit remastered sound, an essential soundtrack in the library of any serious -- or casual for that matter -- film music collector.
Review by Thom Jurek

Monday

Dare!


Dare! captures a moment in time perfectly; the moment post-punk's robotic fascination with synthesizers met a clinical Bowie-esque infatuation with fashion and modern art, including pop culture, plus a healthy love of song craft. The Human League had shown much of this on their early singles, such as "Empire State Human," but on Dare! they simply gelled, as their style was supported by music and songs with emotional substance. That doesn't mean that the album isn't arty, since it certainly is, but that's part of its power; the self-conscious detachment enhances the postmodern sense of emotional isolation, obsession with form over content, and love of modernity for its own sake. That's why Dare! struck a chord with listeners who didn't like synth pop or the new romantics in 1981, and why it still sounds startlingly original decades after its original release; the technology may have dated, synths and drum machines may have become more advanced, but few have manipulated technology in such an emotionally effective way. Of course, that all wouldn't matter if the songs themselves didn't work smashingly, whether it's a mood piece as eerie as "Seconds," an anti-anthem like "The Things That Dreams Are Made Of," the dance club glow of "Love Action (I Believe in Love)," or the utter genius of "Don't You Want Me," a devastating chronicle of a frayed romance wrapped in the greatest pop hooks and production of its year. The latter was a huge hit, so much so that it overshadowed the album in the minds of most listeners, yet, for all of its shining brilliance, it wasn't a pop supernova; it's simply the brightest star on this record, one of the defining records of its time.

Sunday

Movement


Movement is a first hesitant step in the transition from Joy Division to New Order. After the tragic loss of Ian Curtis, the three remaining members of the former band added keyboardist Gillian Gilbert and soldiered on. Despite a relatively assured debut single ("Ceremony," which didn't appear on the album), the first New Order album revealed a band understandably caught up in mourning for its former lead singer. (But of course, themes of loss and isolation were hardly novel for them.) Movement was made up of songs written just after the suicide of Ian Curtis, and it was recorded with alternating vocal spots to see whose would fit best; although neither bassist Peter Hook nor guitarist Bernard Sumner sounded quite worthy of the mantle. Sumner wound up taking lead on all the tracks except for "Dreams Never End" and "Doubts Even Here." At times, both vocalists' hesitancy makes it sound as if they were recording guide vocals for a Joy Division LP, expecting Ian Curtis to come in later. Despite the band's opaque lyrics, there are easily spotted references to Curtis all over the record, with despair and confusion reigning, especially on "Senses" ("No reason ever was given") and "ICB" ("It's so far away, and it's closing in"). More so than on any Joy Division record, it also revealed a group unafraid to experiment relentlessly in the studio until it had emerged with something unique. It showed, too, on tracks like the very hooky "Dreams Never End" or the insistently danceable "Chosen Time," some of the pop smarts that would flower fully later on in their career. Spurred on by producer Martin Hannett, despite his antagonistic relationship with the band (and perhaps, because of it), New Order produced a ghostly, brittle record, occasionally up-tempo but never upbeat, with drum machines rattling and echoing over dark waves of synthesizers and Hook's iconic bass work. A masterpiece in the career of any other post-punk band, Movement paled only in comparison to the band's later work.

Saturday

Faith


Certainly not the "darkest" the Cure would eventually get, Faith is, as represented by the cover art, one of the most "gray" records out there. Melancholy and despondent (the feel of funerals and old churches just oozes from this record) without the anger that would overtake Pornography, Faith comes off as not just a collection of songs, but as a full piece. "The Holy Hour," "All Cats Are Grey," and the spectacular "Faith" are slow atmospheric pieces that take the softer elements from Seventeen Seconds, and -- when sidled up next to faster tracks like the single "Primary" and "Doubt" -- paint an overall picture of the ups and downs contained within a greater depressive period. But it's not all gloomy keyboards and minimalist percussion, Faith is also a milestone for Robert Smith lyrically, branching out into questions of faith and spirituality he never quite touched on so well ever again. A depressing record, certainly, but also one of the most underrated and beautiful albums the Cure put together. They would not touch on this sort of lush sadness so well again until 1989's Disintegration.

Friday

The American Dream


Following up their 2014 album New Frontiers, the Danish trio Foreign Resort blasted this emotionally charged and atmospherically moving 5 track EP. The EP sounds like the band picked their favourite bits of the best post punk around with elements of The Cure, Joy Division, and XTC appearing somewhere in the sound. The result is a collection of truly magnificent songs! ‘The New Blood’ sounds like a new age version of New Order. The track races through with great energy, with a gritty atmosphere buried beneath taking you though dark and cold street corners where the lights are all broken. ‘Suburban Depression’ is perhaps the most apt song title around in terms of describing how the song sounds. The music is dark and eerie, dragging you along feeling the grim, dreary outlook. The fantastic vocals both add the narrative to match the soundtrack and provide immense feeling in every syllable. ‘Onto Us’ brings in an amazing mix of Faith and Unknown Pleasures. The music has an energetic pace to it while also having a distant and bleak industrial atmosphere. ‘Under Bright Neon Stars’ acts as a kind of light at the end of the tunnel, bringing in a sweet and lighter poppy sound, sounding like The Cure’s brighter poppy moments driven along with a Robert Smith-esq lead guitar. The EP closes with the racy ‘Skyline/Decay’. The faint vocals combined with the echoing sounds create a dark foggy atmosphere like you are wondering through a forest in the middle of winter. This is a truly fantastic EP. All manner of emotions, vivid imagery and atmosphere is felt across the tracks.

Thursday

Belirdi Gece


The contemporary answer to Bauhaus, Clan Of Xymox and Joy Division comes from…Turkey. The duo She Past Away cultivate a sound that combines the best elements of electronically inspired post-punk with darkwave and dark pearls with songs like "Sanri" and "Kasvetli kutlama", which are reminiscent of the first album by Clan Of Xymox. You would be forgiven for thinking “Belirdi Gece” is an album from the 80s or even 90s Goth scene, but in fact the Turkish band was formed in 2006 and this their debut album was released early in 2012. With vocals reminiscent of The Sisters of Mercy and Fields of the Nephilim (in Turkish, I presume) and guitar, drums, bass and synth that draw on the best of early Cure, She Past Away infuse enough of their own personality to make this a compelling listen. The voice of guitarist and singer Volkan Caner is so haunting that it is second to none. "Sanri" is certainly one of the album highlights, in which the bass with the flat synths enters into a coherent synthesis and the vocals almost turn into a dark rumble from the off. This is not The Essence, where you kinda enjoy it but can’t help thinking “this is a *bit* too much like a band trying to be exactly like the Cure.” Rather, despite the nostalgic sound, it still feels new and fresh and electrifying.
She Past Away is an absolute exception these days.
 

Wednesday

Valleyheart


Arriving four years after This Is Forever showed just how closely She Wants Revenge could follow the post-punk and synth pop rule book, Valleyheart injects the band’s sound with some much-needed ambition and eclecticism. A concept album about the San Fernando Valley and the turbulent relationships of its denizens, this set of songs proves once and for all that while She Wants Revenge's influences may be from New York and England, they’re undeniably a product of Los Angeles. They’re as sleek and slick as ever on love/hate songs like “Little Star” and “Up in Flames,” which makes their city sound downright dangerous, with lyrics like “the canyon screams and the highways bleed at night.” “Not Just a Girl” and “Suck It Up” are typical dark and doomy She Wants Revenge songs, but more often than not, the band tries new things. “Take the World” puts gritty electronics and programmed beats at the fore, while many of the highlights are surprisingly light-hearted. “Must Be the One” echoes some of U2’s soaring sweetness, while “Kiss Me” couches SWR's swooning romanticism in deceptively sunny pop. “Holiday Song” might be Valleyheart's finest moment, a Bowie-esque ballad that captures the splendid isolation/self-pity of being alone on a day where everyone else is together. Ultimately, the album shows that She Wants Revenge is developing their own sound on their own terms.

Tuesday

Medusa


On November 1st, 1986 Clan of Xymox released their second studio album Medusa. Previously, Clan of Xymox’s 1985 debut LP took their label 4AD by storm, issuing a much more club-minded shade of The Cure’s heady gloom. On their second record, however, the band truly come into their own with warmer synth textures, shimmering guitars, ambient interludes, and some of the most well-crafted tracks recorded in the era. Each track is a mini-masterpiece, and songs such as “Louise” and “Back Door” never fail to give me chills. The album's high point by far is the proto-acid house "Michelle," which has the dreamy neo-psychedelic textures of Psychic TV's "Godstar" or mid-period Siouxsie and the Banshees. However, the band's fatal flaws remain clear throughout the album: although these songs are superficially attractive in a goth-dance sort of way, there's little in the way of depth or substance here, and on closer listen, one realizes that the best parts of these songs sounded even better when they appeared on earlier albums by Depeche Mode, X-mal Deutschland, Propaganda, and Bauhaus. Together though, the core song writing trio of Ronny Moorings, Anka Wolbert, Pieter Nooten, along with guitarist Frank Weyzig have created one of the definitive goth records of all time and earned in spades their spot in music history by having the term darkwave coined by John Peel himself in describing their dark and melancholic sound.

Monday

Colourbox


The band's sole full length album was, and is, a lost treasure -- though much about its production and general sound firmly places it as a product of the mid-'80s, it was still a stunning debut which covers any number of sounds and styles with aplomb. The result is a unique fusion, where you can't quite guess what will happen from one track to the next, but the sound still resembles the product of one particular vision. The opening songs set the range and ambition of the group straightaway -- from the instrumental "Sleepwalker," a truly beautiful piano piece with some extra production touches, the band slams into the sampling/guitar/rock/dance masterpiece "Just Give 'Em Whiskey." Crammed with samples from the likes of Westworld and The Prisoner, it's a total winner of beat, sound, and arrangement. Lorita Grahame makes her first appearance on the next number, the previously released cover of U-Roy's dancehall classic "Say You" -- her lovely singing provides the anchor for the album as a whole, matching the multiplicity of Colourbox's approaches with skill. The other cover on the record is often cited as its highlight -- a revamping of the Supremes' tremendous "You Keep Me Hanging On," which makes the near contemporaneous take by Kim Wilde seem like the weedy thing it is. There are plenty of other examples of Colourbox reaching for the skies, though: from the mid-century tearjerker gone modern "The Moon is Blue" and the album-closing gentle drama of "Arena" to the aggressive "Manic," which features a snarling guitar solo from William Orbit. There's a slightly curious discrepancy in the album's varying editions -- the vinyl version featured an extra record with other tracks and some alternate versions, only half of which ended up on CD. Those included were another take on "Arena" and the amusing samplefest "Edit the Dragon."

Sunday

Viva


Viva represents how Xmal Deutschland mellowed with age. No longer kicking and screaming like Siouxsie and the Banshees in their punk days, Xmal Deutschland tone down the dissonance and funereal atmospherics in Viva. Fans of the group's chaotic early records might disagree, but Viva is Xmal Deutschland's finest moment. Xmal Deutschland aren't trying to be scary anymore -- their 1982 single "Incubus Succubus" was creepy stuff -- just beautifully depressed. The opening track, "Matador," recalls the band's old gothic fury; however, it's more focused and accessible. The jumpy new wave drums and dreamy mid-'80s keyboards of "Matador" edge the group closer to pop, recalling the Cure in their transformation from the horsemen of the apocalypse to melodic gloom-rockers. "Matador," the band's catchiest single since "Incubus Succubus," was remixed for the clubs as well, but only the original can be found on the Viva CD. It's inevitable that vocalist Anja Huwe would be compared to Siouxsie Sioux; the similarities are striking, like Ian McCulloch and Jim Morrison. Nevertheless, Huwe has found her own voice on Viva, hitting the high notes on "Matador" with palpable passion. "Sickle Moon" and "Feuerwerk (31.dez)" are haunted by Joy Division's dense guitars and foreboding basslines; they display Xmal Deutschland's more mature approach of crafting songs instead of slamming people over the head with repetitive drones. The abundance of synthesizers also give Viva a lighter feel, preventing the music from becoming overwhelmingly bleak, especially on "Eisengrau," "If Only," and "Illusion (Version)," the latter only appearing on the CD. Although Xmal Deutschland went downhill from here -- 1989's Devils was blatantly commercial -- they're kings of the castle on Viva.

Saturday

Casino


Those who were in the know and scored the first Brit-only Violet Indiana disc, Roulette, got their first taste of former Cocteau Twin Robin Guthrie's shimmering guitarscapes and ex-Mono vocalist Siobhan De Maré's singular vocals entwining in a tragic marriage of loss, heartbreak, and obsession all wrapped in a heartbreakingly beautiful package. The three (also import-only) EPs furthered the band's rep to the point where they had to get something out stateside -- Casino is it. For the faithful it may be a bit of a let-down in that it only features three new tracks, but it also puts all three EPs handily onto one disc as a consolation and features a video of "Killer Eyes." While comparisons to the Cocteaus are inevitable, with all due respect, Ms. De Maré's voice doesn't have the swooping, soaring quality of Elizabeth Fraser's (but whose does?), but she is more suited to the darker visions Mr. Guthrie has longed to put into his music. While tunes like "Jailbird," "Purr la Perla," "Poppy," and "Torn Up" have the wistful atmospherics one has come to expect from Mr. Guthrie, they are tempered with an obsessive malevolence and an over-the-top excess of raw emotion. "Bang Bang" is the account of a woman catching her husband in an act of adultery in their wedding bed. And as such, she is moved to kill the other woman. As guitars move -- ringing, slithering, and slipping in and out of a textured wall of white-out -- Ms. De Maré sings as if this moment were calculated; she acts as if it's her only choice and does the violent act with a swagger and a hint of a smile. On the other side of the coin is the band's non-tongue-in-cheek cover of Jacques Brel's "Ne Me Quitte Pas" (If You Go Away); genuine unconditional love is laid out at the other's feet amid the reverbed swirl of Guthrie's guitars, keyboards, and drums. Marianne Faithfull could have covered this and it actually sounds as if her presence and inspiration are being evoked here. The final track, "Heaven," offers a glimpse of an optimism so fragile it is barely allowed to exist; De Maré's vocals strut down in the velveteen gutters with Mr. Guthrie's Bataillean vision of sex, heartbreak, and excess. This is a breath of cognac- and cigarette-scented air on an almost-dead pop scene.

Friday

Die Kleinen Und Die Bösen


After the near-apocalyptic shrieks of Ein Produkt, DAF toned down just a touch, but only just, for Kleinen und die Bösen. Coming out on Mute as the album did, it helped not merely in establishing the group's cachet, but the label's and, in turn, the whole genre of experimental electronic music in the '80s and beyond. The cover art alone, with the group's name boldly printed white-on-black in all capitals, next to part of a Soviet propaganda poster, practically invented a rapidly overused industrial music design cliché. At the time, though, the group was ironically the most rock they would ever get, with bassist Chrislo Haas and guitarist W. Spelmans joining Robert Görl and Gabi Delgado (aka Gabi Delgado-Lopez). The first half of Kleinen was a studio recording with Krautrock-producing legend Conrad Plank, who did his usual fantastic job throughout. The beats are sometimes hollow and always ominous, treated with studio touches to make them even more so, while the squalling, clipped guitar sounds often make nails-on-chalkboards sound sweet in comparison. Delgado's husky vocals and Görl's spare-but-every-hit-counts drumming on "Osten Währt Am Längsten" are particularly strong, while the electronic rhythms of "Co Co Pino" (Delgado's vocal trills are a scream) and all-out slam of "Nacht Arbeit" can't be resisted. The live side, recorded at London's Electric Ballroom, is even more all-out most of the time, starting with the complete noise fest "Gewalt," and then shifting into a series of short, brusque tracks. Delgado pulls off some blood-curdling screams (and Görl some fairly nutty harmonies as well -- check the opening to "Das Ist Liebe") over the din. The musicians themselves sound like they decided to borrow Wire's sense of quick songs while cranking the amps to ten; the resultant combination of feedback crunch and electronic brutality is, at times, awesome to behold.

Thursday

Mirror Moves


Having made tentative inroads towards a wider American audience with Forever Now, the Psychedelic Furs' profile-raising and partial transformation continued on with Mirror Moves. Very much a product of its mid-'80s time; Keith Forsey produced, his drum machine providing the beats while synths played an even more prominent role than before; it may not be the classic sound of the band but it is an often rewarding and inspiring listen. It didn't hurt that some of the band's best songs made an appearance here, either. Both "The Ghost in You" and "Heaven" balanced off a warm sound that managed to be radio-friendly on the one hand; John Ashton's guitar mixed in surprisingly well with the fine if often conventional keyboard arrangements and surprisingly barbed on the other. Richard Butler's lyrics were some of his slyest and sharpest, a tone maintained throughout the album, while his one of a kind speak/sing clipped rasp kept things from being too lost even at the album's least inspired. Unlike the following Midnight to Midnight album, however; where everything the Furs had going for them turned into a screeching halt; Mirror Moves holds up fairly consistently. "Here Come Cowboys," with its combination guitar/string chug (or so it sounds!) and a brilliant slow descending chorus, and the driving, nervous piano and massed vocals on "Alice's House" are two particular winners. The secret highlight of the album is also its closer, "Highwire Days," as brilliant a meditation on '80s-era political paranoia and fears as was done at the time. Butler's imagery is to the point without moralizing or dumbing down, while the tense arrangement suggests a more synth-based equivalent to the Chameleons, at once scaled for epic heights and almost as uncomfortably close.

Wednesday

Pete Shelley – XL-1


This is the result of Pete Shelley (keyboard programming, guitar, voice), Barry Adamson ex Visage and Magazine (bass), Jim Russell ex The Inmates (drums) and sir Martin Rushent (keyboards, programming) having a go at being an up to date (1983) pop music outfit, as opposed to the minimal guitar, drum machine, synthesizer instrumentation on Homosapien. Shelley had experimented with electronic music before he even discovered punk, so this whole-hearted embrace of electropop was not out of character. He’d formed Buzzcocks in a similar spirit of spontaneity and was once again gripped by the where-it’s-at immediacy of a new type of music. While the result on XL-1 isn't quite as bracing as its predecessor, Shelley integrates layers of guitar into the electronic synth-pop; it sounds edgier, making the record fairly captivating. The vibe is heavier and while tracks like lead single "Telephone Operator", “Many A Time” and “If You Ask Me (I Won’t Say No)” are excellent, it’s a little bogged down by the production. If we agree on the fact that you just can't make the same record more than once, this is a more than reasonable continuation of its predecessor.

Der Mussolini

Following the tragic loss of Gabi Delgado-López, co-founder of the pioneering German band DAF who died on Sunday (March 22) aged 61, a reboot of their classic

"Der Mussolini," DAF's breakthrough hit, still sounds fantastic years later. A perfect case could be made for it as the ultimate industrial single, with Delgado's at once insistent and sensual singing, lyrics referencing not just Mussolini but any number of fascist figures (as titles of dance crazes, no less!), and Görl's astonishing percussion crunch and bassline.

Tuesday

Deliverance


There’s not much on the interweb to help with a decent review of this album from UK synth / experimental band Bushido. Deliverance is a bit of a mess, but it also has some really powerful moments. The project is the brainchild of Gary Levermore, who ran Third Mind Records (Beautiful Pea Green Boat, Front Line Assembly, In the Nursery, Heavenly Bodies etc) for a while. Deliverance has a very fantasy-like sound, definitely not a cheap minimal synth album for 1985, lots of digital goodness and what must have been a pricey drum machine. If the cover was a point and click adventure game Lament would be its main theme. Incidentally other Third Mind artists have guested on Deliverance, including Chryss (Julia Niblock) from Attrition and Glenn Wallis of Whitehouse / Konstruktivist.

Monday

Treasure

The opening two numbers of Treasure are simply flawless, starting with "Ivo," where gently strummed guitar and low bass support Fraser's singing; then suddenly added, astonishing chimes and steady percussion build up to a jaw-dropping Guthrie guitar solo. Topping that would be hard for anyone, but in "Lorelei," the Twins do it, with an introductory, breathtaking guitar surge leading into one of Fraser's best vocals, compelling in both its heavenly and earthly tones and rolls. Not a word may be understandable, but it isn't necessary, while the music, driven on by a pounding rhythm, is as perfect a justification of digital delay pedals and the like as can be found. As Treasure continues, the accomplished variety is what stands out the most, whether it be the gentle, futuristic-medieval pluckings on "Beatrix," the understated moody washes and Fraser whispers on "Otterley," the upbeat guitar lines of "Aloysius," or the slightly jazzy touches on "Pandora." The concluding number ends the record on the peak with which it began. "Donimo" starts with a mysterious mix of mock choir sounds, ambient echoes and noises, and Fraser's careful singing before finally exploding into one last heavenly wash of powerful sound; Guthrie's guitar, Raymonde's steady bass, and drum machine smashes provide the perfect bed for Fraser's final, exultant vocals. Treasure lives up to its title and then some as a thorough and complete triumph.

Saturday

Heaven Is Waiting


Big things were expected after Arista won an early-'80s bidding war for this U.K. quintet, but this outing was as far as they got. Heavy on gloomy atmosphere, thanks to the sombre vocals of Steve Rawlings, but short on memorable songs, Heaven Is Waiting failed to deliver on the promise Danse Society displayed early in their career. However, the album isn't without interest. Augmented by Lyndon Scarfe's keyboard work, the group gave their brand of goth rock a high-tech makeover that was unusual in their day and is still appealing in small doses. The powerful title track became one of the definitive goth dance anthems of the '80s, alongside similar cuts like Bauhaus' "Kick in the Eye" and Sisters of Mercy's "This Corrosion." Built on a bed of ominously ticking sequencers that spiral into an abrasive, memorable chorus, it's the group's career highlight. Nothing else here is as good, although "Red Light (Shine)" and "Angel" mine the same fertile territory with some success. But the cover of the Stones' "2000 Light Years From Home" never quite takes off, and by side two there's more dark style on display than actual songs. The album is worth seeking out for the handful of choice tracks, although a definitive greatest-hits collection would presumably make that unnecessary.

Friday

Gift

I actually quite like this album. Yes, given the circumstances, it is a bit rushed, which shows... Each track is too long for its own content, and clearly made to be as long as possible. But there is a huge potential here, it is much more synth-driven, almost darkwave rather than the imagined gothic rock. I've listened to Gift numerous times throughout the years and every time it leaves me with a feeling of completeness of the message it wanted to send. It almost feels solid as one entire entity. There are some very good tracks, while great on their own, together sound better than the individual sum of their parts. When released this was not exactly what most Sisters fans would have enjoyed, but it isn’t The Sisters, it’s different, it relies heavily on keyboards rather than guitars, it is a completely different beast, it is The Sisterhood, therefore, totally worth giving it a try. Gift would have probably received a much better public reaction if not for the purpose of the release. For me, it turned out to be way better than what I perceived before listening to it.