Thursday, 27 June 2013

GRAVEYARD LOVE - EP REVIEW

Graveyard Love - Dissociate EP (Monkey Records) 
Graveyard Love - Dissociate 

Release Date: 28/06/2013

Hamish Black. Hamish. Black. Just let that name roll off your tongue a few times. Ha-mish. Bl-ack. Now what kind of music does someone with that name, performing under the pseudonym Graveyard Love, create? Dark, Nick Cave-esque, possibly a bit grungy, a bit angry folk? That's what I expected, anyway, but what I got was something altogether more intriguing. Graveyard Love is a one man show from Auckland, New Zealand, creating dark (that bit was right) electronic songs that merge the moods of early Gary Numan and Depeche Mode with the more modern, up-tempo stylings of LCD Soundsystem or Goose. It's an intriguing blend and one worth lending your ear to.  

To kick things off and, I expect, grab your attention, Black hits you with 'Dissociating', featuring two layers of swirling, rotating organ, some understated guitar chords and a vocal that is so spaced out and gentle that it lulls you in to a state of utter relaxation. However, once those chords drift off in to the hazy ether, 'Me I'm Not Myself' pops up like a simplistic 80s electro-pop smash to get your head nodding and feet tapping. Even Black's voice has a certain 80s feel to it and in a world where Flight of the Conchords is New Zealand's biggest musical export, there is part of me that wonders about the seriousness of this music. 'A New Start' dispels any thoughts that this might be a parody though as Graveyard Love take on a much darker, more industrial feel that is somewhere in between NIN, Aphex Twin and Boards of Canada. The melody sprawls in a hundred different directions, like marbles falling from a jar on a high shelf, scattering to all four corners of the room and the beat is equally and enthrallingly erratic.

'Dance Dark At The Dead Disco', apart from being a great title, is a slinky, seductive little number that is like an electro vision of a Victorian Opium den on a foggy London evening. The sounds of passing cars on an outer city road heralds the beginning of 'A City, A Spirit And A Fall From Grace' followed by the kind of stabbing keys and aspirational melodies that made me fall in love with Temposhark a few years back. The clean guitar melodies and breathy, mumbled lyrics definitely push this in to the realms of Indietronica if you're desperate for a pigeon hole but what I love about this EP is it's complete lack of interest in 'being something'. It just 'is'. It exists and has absolutely no compunction to live up to anybody else's expectations or standards. 'Gospel Of Trial And Error' wraps up this six track selection with a swirl of static pierced by a keyboard melody that has the musical equivalent of ADHD and a beat that sounds like an automatic stapler that is seriously malfunctioning. Throw in a big, squelchy bass line and you've got a wonderfully hypnotic end to this collection. Graveyard Love would, in all seriousness, probably be critically acclaimed if this music was coming out of Dalston, Berlin, Brooklyn or Paris right now. Let's see if the music world has big enough ears and open enough minds to take this on.


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