Monday 8 August 2016

Review: In Letter Form – 'Fracture, Repair, Repeat'

'Fracture, Repair, Repeat'

The term "Goth" was invented by the press, there I've admitted it.

By the time punk had made it's way into the mainstream it had died on it's arse. In it's place was Post-Punk. Groups like PIL, Joy Division & Gang of Four gave soul to an otherwise blunt genre. In three more years however, the sound had yet again evolved into a different beast. Pete Murphy's word for fans of his band Bauhaus were "Wildebeest" due to the hairstyles, but soon the title "Goth" was coined. With moody vibes and lashings of dub, psycho-billy and remorseful poetry, goth was a flash in the pan, but has now become synonymous with the decade.
Then ten years ago chart music saw a revival of 80's nostalgia, with acts like The Horrors and A Place To Bury Strangers flying the somewhat goth flag, but even they moved on into their own sound and styles.
Okay, enough of the history lesson, you came here to read a review, not an essay!
In Letter Form have been creeping around the shadows for a few years now. Their debut 'Explorations Of Unknown Destinations' was a self released triumph and they were quickly snapped up by Metropolis records for their second release 'Fracture, Repair, Repeat'.
The 7" single 'Wait Now' was a sure-fire hit, keeping in tune to the post punk style without getting too silly. The album itself is a stuff of majesty and has the one thing most goth albums fail on obtaining these days; great production. The vocals tend to take a back seat, leaving the instruments in the foreground, giving it a hollow sound while somehow still managing to keep busy and beautiful. As they echo through the halls,  you get so lost in the album's forest and you'll have gone through half of it without realising!
Stand out tracks include the mystifying 'Face in the Crowd', the skin crawling 'Terror (is a state of mind)' and the upbeat 'High Line'. Above all though is the instant classic 'Reflecting the Rain', a song so amazingly good I actually had to look it up to check it wasn't a cover (lets face it, who doesn't like a goth tune about rain?!)
The album's only struggle is it's identity. Sometimes it leans towards the post-punk side, and on others it will head towards the goth spectrum, but with both to hand it gives the band a lot to work with. It is very clear that they are well versed in both genres and have done a great service to revive it with grace and humility.
If you are (or ever were) a fan of the 80's alternative movement, this is certainly an album to add to your collection. You'll be fooled into thinking it came out in 79'!

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