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Those'd be some seriously 80s, seriously British reverbed chords we're talkin' about, and they come slinking out of popgazers Single Lash, them of the perhaps most perfect pop goth band name what has ever been, on their new eponymous album. Released this April, "Single Lash" follows up on 2014's intriguing "Soft as Glass" with 12 cacophonous tracks with one or two word titles, those sparse words more often than not being from the gloomy romantic side of the dictionary (“Bitemarks,” “Keep It,” “Drown” and “False” start the album off, just to name a few). In fact, a flavor of gothic influenced “lovely, but with death on the mind,” thorned-rose notes percolate through and from the music itself through all of the album, the sound of which comes from the art poprock side of the dark music genrescape.
“Single Lash,” and Single Lash the band itself, are well-done breaks from the idea that dreary must always be dark (or is it vice versa), with the satisfying and even at times near ecstatic prettiness of the album pairing perfectly with the goth- and general 80s-British-Music-informed melancholia of the songs here. Which, truth be told, is just the way any good pain + pleasure thing should go (I guess in a way what I’m saying is that “Single Lash” is the consensual rough sex where everyone involved leaves bruised but happy of music).
As an example of this sweet and sour sound I’m talking about, take track “False,” one of the more outwardly happy, more upbeat sounding tracks on the album. Soaking in the waves of bright, quick shoegaze that wash out of the drack (and not drowning in them, as can happen with many -gaze tracks), one can just make out the words of the song, “There’s nothing here to want/Just bitter nostalgia-/There’s nothing here that’s true.” Second track “Keep It” nails the sentiment in one line, “I am spellbound as the stars go out.“
Speaking of nostalgia, that feeling is an excellent touchstone for this music, the word coming from the combination of the Greek words for “return home” and “pain (apologies to Don Draper fans). When that word was coined, real life medical people actually thought you could die from nostalgia, and listening to Single Lash, you get the sense that the band might not find that concept too outlandish. They pine, they remember, they query the universe about why things are the way they are in most tracks. However, from the bright sounds they blend into their laments and existential requests, I also get the sense that Single Lash is less interested in the idea of despair alone, but maybe more of just a heaviness of all emotion. I get the feeling that if their members died because of grief or existential uncertainty, it would be more of a chosen and beautiful event than a perishing one.
All of that, of course, is just speculation (maybe super happy people are great at sad music? you never know), but what is nothing but sure is that “Single Lash” is a deadly gorgeous album that does not tire from track to track despite its drone-heaviness and which is both fully versed in its influences and yet has also drifted away from them to a nearby space all its own. Listen below, especially if it’s still fucking raining when you find this piece. You could do much worse for rainy day music.
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