Album, Single and EP Reviews



  This Is Deathpop by Various Artists

This Is Deathpop cover art

Artist: Various Artists
Title: This Is Deathpop
Catalogue Number: GIVE/TAKE Records
Review Format: Download
Release Year: 2022

You wake up in gutter and think to yourself that, today, you will find a new musical genre that will guide you to spiritual enlightenment and, for that’s the way God planned it, you do. This, new to these ears, genre is called deathpop.

As compilations go, “This Is Deathpop” manages a fair degree of consistency with these fourteen songs echoing similar themes and duly combining into a sort of soundtrack to the adventures of those who, in spite of the proximity of a chain coffee shop, never truly wanted to escape the midnight gravitational pull of the dancefloor.

Onwards to the songs. Starting things off and looping herself into reverb torment is Wendy Rae Fowler with “Volcanic”. Devours fills “Feckless Abandon” with robot powered offbeat humour. Patch spins a web out of brutal bleakness and riffs to shift “Metaphors” swiftly into gear while Bellhead use “No Dead Horses” to remind us of just where the arthouse was born.

Bijou Noir, on the other hand, pull their inspiration for “Cruel Trick” from the days of the commercial success of synth pop and Hatif similarly go sequencer mad on “City Beneath The City” and duly resurrect Bauhaus repetition in yet more shades of black. Silver Walks clearly don’t walk the same streets as everyone else and they rapidly drag “In Consequence” into an alleyway filled with gloriously deranged poetry.

Deathdance eschew total reliance on electronica and instead spread theatrical melodrama all over “I Am Your Blood”. Haunt Me are more conventional synth pop than death pop but “Watch You Bleed“ has the added benefit of familiarity and, as such, makes a nice counterpoint to the crude, drum machine powered, emotions that drive DB Armitage’s “Old Bones” towards the stars. Talking of the dancefloor – I know I wasn’t but sometimes an awkward segue is inevitable – We Are The World demonstrate an endearingly militaristic approach to invigorating the dancefloor with “Clay Stones” that is matched by the electro revisionism evident in “Queen of Hearts” by Lilac Web.

Vukovar use “The Gift Received” to show reverential respect for all that was to be found in the Bauhaus eighties style back catalogue and, in the process, remind us that you can have it in any colour as long as it is black. Last up is Hviress and, as if to summarise all that is deathpop, “No Exit” duly wraps drama, female vocals, reverb and a drum machine into an off Broadway reworking of the Wizard of Oz where Dorothy gets barred from the Emerald City for smoking.

Deathpop, as a genre, would appear to mix the theatrical with the rigidity of the sequencer in various proportions and, as a result, gives us music that would give a Spice Girls aficionado a heart attack. There may well be no bright colours here but the shadows are clearly not lacking in humour or over the top stylistic touches.

Best song: “In Consequence” by Silver Walks. Offbeat poetry is cooler than my cat.

Available from Bandcamp and other digital places
Review Date: June 10 2022