Tuesday 21 November 2017

Review: Byronic Sex & Exile – 'Under The Gaze Of And Indifferent God'

'Under The Gaze Of And Indifferent God'

Once again the opium smoke parts as the crypt creaks open to reveal the dark and shadowy shape of a new Byronic Sex & Exile EP. As old school as Bela Lugosi's cape 'Under The Gaze Of And Indifferent God' is a homage to the decadent trad goth of years gone by played with a knowing glint of irony in its eye.

Picking up where last years 'Crimes Of Passion' EP left off with another four cuts of steady mechanical beats, old school guitars, synths and melancholic vocals with elements of acts such as Dead Can Dance, Gene Loves Jezebel, Flesh For Lulu, Rose Of Avalanche, Rosetta Stone, Children On Stun and Love Like Blood distilled through an atmosphere befitting a German expressionist film.

The likes of 'Under Heaven', and 'True Slave' bookend the EP with opulent and mournful gothic hymns made to echo eldritch halls. While 'Heresy In Flesh' and 'Purity' dial up the dance elements that in the 90s would have set the club scene on fire. Even though there are only four songs, the track list seems to cover all the bases in terms of what a damn good trad goth record was and still can be.

All of the old school sounds are present; drum machine beats, cheesy but atmospheric synths, and jagged post-punk guitar lines and the deep crooning baritone. But it doesn't try to recreate a specific sound. It takes those sounds and records them to a modern standard. As such the production pulls the best out of the tracks instead of trying to copy what was the standard of the era.

This is an unashamed love letter to gothic rock that takes the familiar elements and continues the tradition rather than simply imitating it into parody. As such the songs sound like classic singles rather than a clumsy rip-off, and is a joy to listen to as a result.

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