What’s a genre anyway? It’s just a tag. A means of categorising what you hear so that others might hear it as you do and, with songs bleak in tone, heavily sequenced and synthetically driven, “Archipelago” by Vulture Party would be an album that might fit into my - new favourite - death pop genre. It’s a sign of these grey times thing.
But, is the Vulture Party ethos to be the band that only has grey clouds in their weather forecast? An interesting question. The evidence presented to my ears includes a multitude of references to the retro dancefloor and, with a plethora of those analogue synth sounds of the pasts providing the sonic decoration, that would suggest that there is indeed rain and more rain on the horizon. Yet, this is not a depressing album to listen to. The constantly duelling deadpan male and flowing female vocals add a curious, almost countrified, warmth that elevates the pondering on past and present realities lyrics to a level that transcends thesaurus depression. You might almost call it spiritual if you were the kind of person who actually has a reason to get out of their bed on a Sunday morning.
“Archipelago” is unequivocally an album that makes no attempt to lift the listener’s spirits. It is, however, an album that, despite the determinedly synthetic presentation, seems organic in its inspiration and it is also a serious album that manages the uncommon trick of maturing on reacquaintance. But is it death pop? Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps.
Best song: The cinematically downbeat “Let Love Shine (On Your Misery now).”
Verdict: A diamond in the dark.