Goth. The influence that dare not speak it's name. I'm not talking 90s-onwards gloomy sub-metal bollocks here, but the proper stuff, yer Bauhaus, Nephilims and, most gloriously of all, The Sisters Of Mercy. I may have mentioned my penchant for the Sisters before, but I'll say it again; when they were good, they were fucking brilliant, a lo-fi concoction of equal parts Suicide and Hawkwind with a dash of early Stooges for bouquet, which is a damn fine cocktail in my book. The reason I mention this is that the latest, and possibly greatest, Robedoor LP, Too Down To Die (Not Not Fun) is pure, unadulterated proper goth worship*, and yet not a single review I've read picks up on this. Maybe because the reviewer doesn't want to damage their hipster credentials, or maybe they're just too young to remember when goth was actually a vibrant, musically distinct offshoot of post-punk less concerned with a certain look and attitude than creating a (then) modern reconfiguration of psychedelia, a darker vision which nevertheless sought to offer some escape from the rotten, decaying state of Britain in the early 80s.
But, just for a change, I've wandered off my own point, which is that Too Down To Die is the best goth album of the last 25 years, bar none. Imagine crossing Blood On The Moon/3rd From The Sun-era Chrome with early Sisters and you've got a pretty fucking good idea of what this record sounds like. Spindly, endlessly flanged guitars coiling round a super-mechanical rhythm section, icy synths slowly rise and fall, creating an ever shifting landscape of bad-trip dread, minor-key spacerock bass leads you by the hand through this shifting, monochromatic haze as the low, deadpan voice whispers and croons things in yr ear you don't really want to know. Beautiful, epic and happily, wallowingly world-weary in a way I haven't encountered for a very long while.
Note to hipsters: If y're gonna rip off the 80s, at least try to do it as well as this.
*See also the latest Religious Knives album, Smokescreen (Sacred Bones). I think they should just be fucking blatant about it and cut a split 7" with Robedoor doing "Lights" and Religious Knives doing "Kiss The Carpet"** (both from The Reptile House EP, the greatest goth record ever). Just a thought...
**It's always good to see the penny drop when an over-serious goth finally realises what this song is about.