Saturday, September 23, 2017
Friday, September 22, 2017
Thursday, September 21, 2017
Wednesday, September 20, 2017
Tuesday, September 19, 2017
Wednesday, September 13, 2017
The Morelings are one of those acts that once you’ve listened to their music you just don’t have any other option but to get seriously addicted into what they make. Formed by Kedra Caroline (bass/vocals) and Matthew William (guitars) the band that currently performs live as a quintet, managed to prove once again in the last 72 hours the reason why they undoubtedly stand out as one of the most exhilarating cases of talent and aesthetic intentionality that can be found in the current indie music scene.
Last Sunday they’ve literally taken The Psychedelic Furs song hit “Heaven” to idyllic domains by means of an absolutely superlative cover of that song released on the compilation “Highwire Days, The Psychedelic Furs´ Reverence” via TBTCI Records.
Just twenty-four hours later they would premiere the video-single “We Were” in anticipation of their more than awaited debut album Same Century due out September 26th. The “We Were” music video masterfully directed by filmmaker Bob Sweeney, represents an outstanding example of the dreamlike, wistful and evocative timelessness around which The Morelings have been steady and coherently building some of the most matchless beautiful contemporary independent music we can come across.
Saturday, September 02, 2017
Although their sonic background might broadly drive them back to Post-Punk and Goth it seems undeniable that much of their creative temptations decidedly make them head towards the unchanged myth of 4AD sonic universe where Hamsas Xiii can seek anchorage and open way to the outstanding sound waves they’ve already shown they are more than capable of producing. Back when I reviewed their debut album I do remember having written that the band could not have chosen a better title for it because not only it assembled much of the previous material masterfully reworked, but it purposely pointed out which road should it be taken in the near future when they begin making demos for the second album. So «Encompass» was a pretty spot on wise choice.
In spite of being unequivocally beautiful, dense and full of magnificent sound textures, the debut album seemed to have worked more as a notebook for further musical adventures than as concept album. It was not. This being said, one of the most challenging issues raised in the aftermath of their first album was precisely what would Robyn Bright and Rich Witherspoon be doing the next time they'd release a full-length. Would they keep on with their voyage back and forth, circling around their inspirational Alma Mater, aka the 80s in its broad heterodoxy? Would they settle a common aesthetic denominator and start from there and begin to aesthetically purify their previous work?
The best answer for the above questions can actually be found on «de novo» the brand new Hamsas Xiii album which stands as one of the most superb, passionately well-crafted, magnificent albums that undeniably display a whole set of stellar songs plenty of stunning vocals that make of «de novo» one of the greatest highlights of all LP’s released so far this year. For a band composed of two far too brilliant and inventive musicians it is of no surprise that they care for every feature. The first of them all is the sharp ability to choose the album title once again. In simple terms one could say that «de novo» means to start anew, the dawn of a new beginning though it can also allude to a synthesis of a certain kind of complex structure in order to attain anew simpler one.
That is what it really seems to have happened with Hamsas Xiii "de novo". A transformation, a synthesis of the previous language upon which the band did craft «Encompass», into a newer grammatology which basically means that influences such as those as The Cure, Siouxsie and The Banshees, The Sisters of Mercy were decidedly reconfigured into others and this has given birth to a new language or to be rather precise the language that was always there but pretty much submerged.
If by one side it is detectable a clear assumption of the perennial 4AD sound, more than just a mere assumption, it is an upgrade, a deliberate embellishment of a particular sonic aesthetics linked to the golden age of 4AD, on the other side we have a mature claim of Hamsas Xiii out growth, questing for their core identity. The band never sounded so magnificently dark ethereal, so organic, coherent, cohesive. The way Miss Bright and Mr. Witherspoon managed to entwine and superimpose the sound layers and textures in each song is a true show of artistic strength. To say it works brilliantly would be an understatement and beauty lives well without many adjectives.
I've had the privilege to be kept up to date during the whole process of making «de novo» and very early on i got the feeling that this second album would be a tremendous blast, finest among the finest. It seems that on this album everything was balanced the best way imaginable. The guitars are simply gorgeous, gloomy, jagged, edgy, almost with a poetic dimension, but never in excess which helps to maintain a stable and steady dynamic within the songs and most of all the perfect ambience for the tension built by the pounding, sometimes industrial, cold drumming and the bass lines, all masterfully stitched with an undeniable middle eastern influence that definitively bring Brendan Perry and Lisa Gerrard opus to mind.
The track listing of «de novo» opens up with Our Eyes On which is a powerful thunderstorm of gut drenching guitar, pounding drum strokes and dark siren vocals that bring to memory “Head Over Heels”, that incomparable sonic monument made by The Cocteau Twins but also much of the early Dead Can Dance material recorded during the mid eighties. Plus there is the blending of special effects and backing vocals that give this track some otherworldly dimension, like ancient voices from past lives. John Fryer would definitely be proud of how good this track sounds. The album’s second track, Who, pursues in the same dark otherworldly nature and deepens it even more. Somehow the song reminds us of Diamanda Galas in duet with Robyn Bright which would be indeed fantastic. There is again a continuous tension, a contrived feeling, an uneasiness, that cuts through the whole song built upon enchanting drum patterns, middle eastern vibe and a frenzy guitar solo that makes it irresistibly bewitching.
Aftermath stands out as one of the most majestic sorrowful tracks of the album and showing once again that Hamsas Xiii never ending source of inspiration finds its solace in Dead Can Dance work more than in any other 4AD golden period project or band. Deathless surges as one more superior moment on the album leaving in the back of your mind, probably due to its rhythmic pattern, the resonance of SPK’s “Zamia Lehmanni: Songs of Byzantine Flowers”. Not that Graeme Revell seem to have influenced Hamsas Xiii but “Zamia Lehmanni: Songs of Byzantine Flowers” has a grandeur that is present in the splendorous «de novo
Belladonna is probably the only song in «de novo» where you can feel more explicitly the influence of some classic post-punk/goth bands. The bassline and guitar make it sound like an anthem of “pop goth”. So viciously appealing. The perfect ambience to summon dark priestesses. Fractal is another stand out song. It starts as a heavenly choir of angels before it proceeds towards a certain acid, eastern, trip hop sort of beat, intensely reminding of David Bowie “Blackstar” mixed with Dead Can Dance “Advent” and “Mesmerism”. Unquestionably a supreme moment of beauty on this album. Assuredly one of the most hauntingly, dark, delightful, awe-inspiring stand out songs to be celebrated this year.
Stripped Stockings could perfectly have been composed by The Cocteau Twins back in their glorious days but it reminds above anything else, the neoclassical and intense spirituality acknowledged to most Dead Can Dance songs. The delayed piano pattern over a whirl echoing combined with the clean bass and disaffected drum beat are of rare beauty. The vocals sublimely balance the dreamy Mrs. Fraser with the ill-fated vocals of Lisa Gerrard. Fantastic. In conclusion the outcome of «de novo» works out as an essential tension built throughout the album where the sublime vocals of Robyn Bright sometimes emerge as prayers, sometimes as black mass mantras, sometimes as desperate love songs but in either one of them as outstandingly beautiful.
The richness of their sonority, the magnificent solemnity with which they flesh out each and every song is plenty of Middle Eastern touch; polyrhythmic groove and some kind of medieval polyphonic finishing that transverse their compositions. «de novo» is so full of prowess and artistry, so deeply filled in the slightest of details with other artistic and musical narratives that each song deserves maximum attention for there is always more information within each one than one might think there is. Hamsas Xiii are heading to the stars. From the lyrics through the music itself, from the track listing to production everything exhales artistry, exceptional talent. «de novo» has a bewitching consistency, a charismatic harmony and it is delightfully irresistible.
Reviewing an album or any other artistic creation is in some way a hermeneutical exercise. The cultural references of the artist versus those of the reviewer with as much detachment as possible. This taken into account INDIEVOTION honours Hamsas Xiii «de novo» with a 9/10.