Happily Ever After
Electroclash icon Matt Sims has taken his project from performance art spectacle to electroclash biffbangpow, and now he’s doing what any right-thinking musician in his position would do — go goth. And that’s no fucking smear, I assure you. This reviewer lights candles to Rozz Williams and Siouxsie Sioux on a weekly basis. Indeed no, there is some amazing music coming out now by the likes of Ulterior, New Collapse, The Horrors and Kasms that falls under the (dark) shadow of that same aesthetic. Wrapped in a sleeve that looks like a classic Banshees 12″ and with able assists from members of Swans and Autonervous, Happily Ever After is grander and more consumptive than I would have hoped. Influenced by the likes of Covenant, the Banshees, DAF, Christian Death and The Chameleons, the album starts off with a clutch of incredibly promising songs. “Happily Ever After” is a heroic slice of darkwave that borrows as much from Covenant and Apoptygma Berzerk as it does Bowie’s Berlin albums and Peter Gabriel’s first solo album. The whoosh of the synths, the motorik beats, the huge chorus and disaffected vocals about digging graves.
“Playing For Keeps” is smoldering electronic horror with Sims doing his best ultra-dramatic Rozz Williams, tripping and jerking amongst a claustrophobic assembly line of synth wreckage. Ditto with the Blade Runner-esque tension of “Dig It In,” and when THE Bauhaus sax weirdness kicks in, the whole thing kicks into an even better scale of strange. “Love’s Revenge” starts off all broody with distorted synth thunder and then this Cure-aping bass line ushers in the most fucking dramatic goth club dance floor filling chorus that you’ve ever heard. The second half of the record, for whatever reason, doesn’t seem to hold up to the same standards. “What’s the Big Deal?” and “Andy or Jenny” and “Tightrope” are messy and unfocused, just too rocky with Sims stuck in a vocal rut. “The Bitten Bite Back” is a fabulous homage to the noisy decadence of early LA death rock, complete with handclaps and trebley tense riffs, and “Window Window” is a lost BatCave jukebox staple, borrowing “just” enough from Soft Cell. Well-timed and well-executed thematics — he loves you, but he’s chosen darkness.
Hungry Eye Records: www.hungryeyerecords.com