Thursday, 27 December 2012

The 2kDozen 500: #341 - Chromatics, "Kill for Love"

A melding of New Order and Jesus and Mary Chain here. They should be called the Chromantics, as they pull all those big shades and emaciated cool shapes across the first few tracks. Right down to a track called "Candy". "The Page" shares roots with "A Forest". There's a murky lurking about in those areas where Hookey's bass looms in the shadows or goth teen heartache mopes about.

As it progresses, there are other more Balearic moves: "These Streets Will Never Look The Same" are drizzled with soft techno rain, traffic hissing past with those radials that Tom Waits likes to mention every now and then. It's nice, it pulses with abandoned style. Sometimes it goes a bit too limp - as with "Running from the Sun" - but then there are some curly guitar noises to send the ears swooping again. On "A Matter of Time" the Balearic bliss gets a scary undertow, as though the coke was catching up and grinding on that weakest of the nerves.

With the fuzzy electronic washes and the pale-skinned gothy musical themes running close to the surface, this feels a very 2012 album. I can hear why it's being doing so well in the end of year charts. It is also pretty good. It sets a terrific mood that could go in almost any direction: wistful, paranoid, blissed, hungry... I can hear a Ibizan version of Bladerunner sprouting from the sounds.

The closing track "The River" brings everything together in a neat, shivering place. Synths burble with romance, guitars slice into the air with notes like baby fingernails. Michael Mann writes a script for a short film.

Looking at the promotional pics, I'm a bit worried it's one of those pretty girl does the singing, ugly dudes in shades do the music situations, which is always a little depressing. But maybe she plays instruments too. It's just that the headshots don't suggest she mucks in on the shopfloor too much.

Rating: Goth Crystals out of Balearic Murk

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