[Reviewed by Peter Marks]
I thought I spent a lot of time with my own thoughts until I heard this pair. The space between two ears is a vast one, never easily bridged or ever fully understood is it? Now add to this table of elements lyrical content which like Felix Flaucher’s must be studied and puzzled over with extreme care, throw in some wonderfully detailed music bent to the darker side of the spectrum and you’ll wind up with Black Nail Cabaret.
If you’re like me and enjoy watching film documentaries then you’ve no doubt run across some part of one where the other members of the production team marvel at the director’s unique placement of cameras. Emese Arvai-Illes does much the same with her voice in each one of these songs; she’s whispering in your ear, swirling around you in a fog of echoes, softly speaking from an adjacent room or filling up both right and left channels with happy lines like this: “I wouldn’t buy what you’re wearing, I wouldn’t listen to your music.”
This leads me to a bit of track analysis, specifically the strangely engaging love(?) song “Minor Panics” wherein things go from minimal to maximal in a couple of breaths. “I’m more frightened of your death than of my own, that you will leave me in this crowded world alone… big words for a small mouth, I know.” That line has been in my head for days now as not only do the words plead and punish but the sounds rushing to the fore are epic. A tale of longing, paranoia and insecurity. Who said romance was dead. If there’s another single being planned then let it be this track.
The enunciation she pours into it alone should tip the scales.
We Like to Suffer” isn’t how they’ve operated before and some have had to take their time getting into it but as soon as that fat analog bass hit I was hooked. Watch their video for it if you’re curious because stylish though it may be nothing concludes happily. “It’s my life, not yours. I don’t belong with you… what makes you think that I’d feel more content.” Swinging and strutting along into the personal hell of career eloquently noting the stages of mental duress and eventual implosion, my my doesn’t it look grand.
Many are the gems to be discovered on ‘Dichromat’ including one which has to be the swankiest fuck-you-we’re-through poison pen letter I’ve yet heard set to music. I’d been worried that Darkwave was on the ropes but it sneaks into this album here and there amidst the hardened electro leanings the band have embraced with their new line-up. Oh yes, I forgot to mention, it isn’t the same two but you’d never know this unless you’d been researching them a bit obsessively. I may have been doing such a thing but you can hardly fault me.
To hear them is to treasure them. Monochrome glasses and all.