Shortcuts #2

last_surrealist

The Last Surrealist – Hypogean Blood Fractals for a Hypnagogic Sleep
self-released
Digital 2015

Everything in this album, from the long and brainy titles (my favourite is “In the All Consuming Fires of Sodom and Gomorrah we Make Love”) to the verbose lyrics, from the length of the tracks themselves (5 songs for 36 minutes) to the depressing images and the depressed statements you can find on the project’s pages in the web, suggests that there is an overwhelmingly strong and at some level problematic personality behind The Last Surrealist, a person with a culture that’s so vast to become self-referential, a soul so complex and faceted that it appears difficult to relate to even for the owner himself. Is that a problem? My answer is “no”, because Chris Romans (the deus-ex-machina of the project) somehow manages to channel all these apparently explosive elements into a form of songwriting that’s completely original, and that you can’t really compare to anything already existing. His urgency to communicate an overpowering amount of feelings and suggestions (for example the impressive theological notions that can be found in the lyrics) leads to be “extreme” in many senses, most of all in the hyper-expressivity of the vocals. It’s hard to get into it at the beginning, indeed because Romans builds his own world playing by his rules and has complete control over it, but in the end it’s worth it! [Damiano Lanzi]

japan_suicide

Japan Suicide ‎– We Die In Such A Place
Unknown Pleasures Records
CD/Digital 2015

The first time I listened to this record I could have easily believed that Japan Suicide was a British band. Shortly after I discovered they’re actually from Terni in Italy, just 150 kilometers south from where I live. Since many Italian bands in the field of post-punk/dark-wave have often a narrow minded approach to their genre, and therefore make quite “provincial” music, I admire how Japan Suicide sounds so “international” and how their sound and the imagery it relates to are well focused. Their influences are clearly traceable in genre-defining acts as Joy Division (the aggressively picked high-register basslines of “Shame” and “Naked Skin”), Bauhaus (the theatrical, Grand-Guignol-esque mood of “Death” and “Even Blood”) and The Cure (some vocal parts, most of all “A Mood Apart”), but they’re able to update the lesson of these bands with a more aggressive feel and a modern mix, where all the instruments are clearly defined. [Damiano Lanzi]

cecili

Cecilia::Eyes ‎– Disappearance
Depot 214, 214/cec03
CD 2014

Cecilia::Eyes come from Belgium and they are a five-piece post-rock formation with three guitars, bass and drums. They have been active as a band since 2004, and their more than decennial experience is evident in the flawless interplay between the musicians, most of all between the three guitars that constantly build beautiful stratifications and huge walls of sound. Their formula of long compositions (from 6 to 10 minutes) that slowly grow up from ambient drones to solemn, epic cascades of sound, recalls bands such as Mogwai or Godspeed You! Black Emperor, even if Cecilia::Eyes tend to be less heavy. Even when the song reaches the top of the tension, there are anyway soothing, widely reverberated sounds in the mix, that give a dreamy atmosphere to it all, with some clear influences from shoegaze and dream-pop acts as Slowdive and Cocteau Twins. [Damiano Lanzi]

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