Label: Deathwish Inc
Around the end of November, I had a period of utter addiction to The Cure; specifically, their Pornography and Disintegration albums. Pornography is an album that, in particular, I have phases of binging on. The album has a feeling and atmosphere that is unsurpassed, and there’s little that comes close to matching the emotions it brings about. The debut EP from Death Of Lovers shows, though, that doing so is not an insurmountable task, and Buried Under A World Of Roses comes damn close to matching that mighty album.
The EP brings to mind the very best of 80s goth/post-punk right from the start, when “Cold Heaven” gets things under way with some powerful drumming. The Cure might be the chief point of comparison, but it’s not the only one that comes to mind; the likes of Joy Division and Sisters Of Mercy can also be heard in the sound of Death Of Lovers, as well as hints of shoegaze, whilst the vocals bring to mind Morrissey and Ian Curtis in turns. There are times when the strong bass, the keyboards, and the shimmering guitars are absolute Pornography, and it’s utterly wonderful. Then there are others, such as the choruses of the opening track, that are full of punk energy and are almost as powerful as anything Joy Division recorded, coming across as strong as a blow to the stomach. None of these comparisons are intended to say the band are devoid of inspiration or ideas though, far from it. More that they are exploring what can be done within this chosen sound and style, whether it be the raw power of “Cold Heaven” or more downbeat tracks such as second track “Shaken” or closer “The Blue Of Noon”.
The title track, especially, is a triumph. The opening bass is soon joined by powerful keyboards and drums, whilst the guitars are so-slightly hidden, their ethereal sounds just out of reach yet always within sight. They come to take a more prominent position as the song progresses, and it’s a great way of having the song grow. Perhaps the highlight, though, is the final minute, when the tempo gets that bit faster and the song takes on its final, almost transcendent form. It’s absolutely beautiful.
Containing members of such bands as Whirr, Nothing, Deafheaven and Horror Show, it should perhaps come as no surprise that Buried Under A World Of Roses is so good. But what is a bit of a surprise is that it comes close to challenging the supremacy of those older records. It’s hard not to get the feeling that, had this been released in the 80s, it would be considered either a classic or an under-appreciated gem, depending which way the fates went. There is enough character and variety in these songs for them, and the band, to come across as having their own identity even if their sound is firmly rooted in the past. It’s very exciting to see where they go from here.