Monday 18 December 2017

Review: Sounds Like Winter – 'Sticks & Stones'

'Sticks & Stones'

Australian post-punk/gothic rock outfit Sounds Like Winter are a band that do exactly what they do on the label: Cold, bleak gothic with icy post-punk spikes. With overt nods to classic bands such as Bauhaus, Clan Of Xymox, Sex Gang Children, Joy Division, and The Birthday Party the band present a no-nonsense but original take on the classic gothic sound of the 80s filtered through a 2017 perspective.

Tracks such as 'Blood Red', 'Sticks and Stones', 'Impossible Dreams', 'The Life Of The Just', 'Television Dreams', 'Beasts Of England', and 'New Hebrides' are powered by grooving bass, tribal drums, scythe-like guitars and vocals that flit between Peter Murphy, Andy Sex Gang and Ian Curtis with wry and ironic lyrics on modern life. The band's influences are impossible to dodge, but it is obvious the band are taking those blueprints and reworking them with love and respect into a modern sound that works well. It's familiar enough to grab the attention of long-time post-punk/goth fans but unique enough to not sound derivative.

The production of the album is in itself a love-letter to those classic 80s albums. It's a little rough and ready with a somewhat analogue warmth to it. But it isn't aping anything in particular, just resurrecting the spirit of the age.

'Sticks & Stones' is a strong album that is on one hand an homage to the classic sound of the 80s, but on the other hand a well-constructed and yet trying to push out and beyond those archetypes and consolidate their own ideas. It's a very smart album with a lot to say and will easily find favour with fans of post-punk and classic gothic rock.  

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