Tuesday 13 May 2014

Review: The Death Notes – 'Lost And Found'

'Lost And Found'

Nottingham's dark-indie rockers The Death Notes are admirable for making a big gamble with their choice of Mark Saxton as the band's new vocalist. Replacing a vocalist is hard enough but when the previous vocalist was of the opposite gender, then things start to get a little trickier. After all this means adjusting the whole of the live show to suite a deeper voice and change the writing style as well. Luckily things slipped into place pretty quickly for The Death Notes and by the time they released their first single from their second album, there was no doubt they'd done things right.

The band's second album, 'Lost And Found' re-establishes their icy-cold indie-goth formula, that blends shoegaze, post-punk and new wave. Tracks like 'Panacea', 'Malice', 'Lost And Found', 'Damnation' and 'Falling From Grace' recall names such as Chameleons, Killing Joke, Joy Division and The Pixies. However, the album's strongest cut has to be the atmospheric noire of 'The Sentinel, that blends mournful violins, jazzy bass and scorching post-punk guitars to compliment Saxton's tortured vocals.

The production overall is a little patchy in places. It does have a nice 80's vibe to it, but it sounds a little too rough around the edges, which unfortunately does become an issue every so often. That being said though, it is a nice mix that lets all five members have the room they need in the tracks.

This may be the band's second album, but it feels like it should be their first. There are a few tracks here that sound like they're treading water somewhat, but when the band get it right it immediately consigns those minor missteps to memory. Yet, as 'The Sentinel' proves, this is a band that are just on the cusp of coming into their own. They know how to write a solid song, and there is no doubt their chemistry is good. But you know there is more to come. As though they're holding back a little. If their next album contains more cuts like 'The Sentinel' it will definitely put The Death Notes on the map.

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