wed 29/05/2024

Album: Black Doldrums - Dead Awake | reviews, news & interviews

Album: Black Doldrums - Dead Awake

Album: Black Doldrums - Dead Awake

Neo-shoegazers return to a time of fuzzy guitars and barbed wire kisses

Dead awake: returning to a time when all the cool kids dressed in black

Dead Awake may be the first album by London-based trio Black Doldrums, but it is one with very deep roots that grow from dark psychedelia, early Goth sounds and those ever-reliable touchstones, Suicide and the Velvet Underground.

In short, it harks back to a time before the Acid House revolution, when all the cool kids dressed in black and were rarely to be seen shaking a leg on the dancefloor.

Opening tune “Sad Paradise” explicitly sounds like an outtake from Darklands-era Jesus and Mary Chain, with fuzzy guitars and mumbled vocals drenched in reverb riding on the back of a driving drumbeat. Elsewhere, “Sleepless Nights” adds a dash of Echo and the Bunnymen’s purple period, and the woozy and dreamy “All for You” floats above down-tempo percussion in a way that is reminiscent of the Cocteau Twins. In fact, there is plenty about Dead Awake to suggest that it might have been a long-forgotten relic from the mid-1980s, recently found in the back of a cupboard somewhere at John Peel’s old house.

That said, this is not an album that relies purely on nostalgia. The speedy neo-shoegaze sounds of “Dreamcatcher” and the strident and hip-swinging “Sidewinder” are surely an encouragement to turn up the volume to tinnitus-inducing levels and burn some rubber on an empty road out of a nowhere town towards somewhere far more exciting.

It’s five years since the Jesus and Mary Chain unleashed their most recent  album Damage and Joy on the record-buying public. Until East Kilbride’s most famous sons get back into the studio and lay down some new tunes, Black Doldrums’ Dead Awake will keep things bubbling along nicely, just as the likes of Singapore Sling, A Place to Bury Strangers and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club have done before them.

There is plenty about Dead Awake to suggest that it might have been a long-forgotten relic from the mid-1980s


Editor Rating: 
Average: 3 (1 vote)

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