This is a moment no one likes to contemplate let alone undertake, reviewing something from an artist and exceptional musician who has sadly just been untimely taken from music and the world. It also though gives fingers and thoughts a chance to pay homage especially when the subject of the piece is such a striking and rousing slice of creativity.
Bloodline is the new album from gothic/post punks 1919, a band formed at the tail of 1980 which proceeded to break the charts with a trio of singles, record one of the genre’s inspirational albums, and make appearances on the John Peel sessions twice before disbanding. Founding guitarist Mark Tighe
began bringing the band back to life in 2014, its line-up sealed the following year with original drummer Mick Reed and bassist Karl Donner joining Tighe and vocalist Rio Goldhammer; the quartet subsequently releasing the ‘Madness Continues Sessions’ live album and in turn the self-released Death Note EP.
This past night of January 27th, Mark passed away; a deep loss for family, band, and fans but equally for music generally. His playing was distinctive, like a single individual colour in a vast palette of hues, able to create haunting melodies and moments as evocative and captivating as the incisive grooves and hooks from him which so freely and uniquely gripped body and imagination. The evidence is no more powerful and true than on Bloodline. He was also a wholly loved man to whom music was his life’s fuel and a true gentleman for all those who knew and met him.
Bloodline is a thrilling way to remember and enjoy Mark’s craft and potent presence; an album which grips physically and imaginatively from its first breath, increasingly winding appetite and lust around its creative fingers track by track. The foursome quite simply cements themselves as still one of the essential post punk incitements with it, almost as if they had never been away as a presence yet pushing themselves into new fresh realms of creative drama and aural adventure.
The album’s title track is first up, chugging riffs swiftly turning into wiry tendrils as percussion teases. Once the brooding bassline enters, things become eagerly catchy with the song blossoming into a PiL meets Leitmotiv like lure with Rio’s tones showing a certain Lydon-esque tinge to them. Feet and hips cannot avoid being involved as sultry melodies weave their temptation and a repetitious Killing Joke scented nagging growls in its belly.
Drama seeps from the electronic coaxing bringing next up This Vanity into view, its raw industrially kissed smoulder continuing to hug the senses as the bass unveils a gorgeous lure. Alongside, Mark’s guitar spins a spiral of melodic suggestion as Mick’s rhythms instinctively roll, a Gene Loves Jezebel like breeze soon floating over the provocative landscape to seep into every emotive crevice as vocals plaintively croon. Quickly absorbing the senses, the track makes way for the outstanding, rhythmically tenacious canter of Inquest. There is no escaping thinking of Jaz Coleman and co as Karl and Mick unite their flirtatiously anthemic designs but as throughout Bloodline, 1919 soon breed their own distinct character of sound and imagination. Magnetic harmonies and intoxicating melodies proceed to vine the ridiculously virulent encounter drawing the listener further into its creative theatre where just as riveting treats lay like its successor Retrograde. Like a puppeteer, it has the body bouncing while its spicy maze of melody is a sunspot of temptation contagiously matched by the snarling bass and hungrily leaping beats; Rio the ringmaster to its rousingly provocative and exhilarating waltz.
Even darker depths are drilled by the bass next in Legacy, its gnarly breath echoed in the caliginous air of the song though it too has a rampant catchiness which tempers and suits its shadowy presence. Imagine Bauhaus in league with Play Dead and the song can be visualised but still only a glimpse of its invasively compelling adventure, success matched by that of the wholly different presence of Zeitgeist. Again the first of the just mentioned pair of references is a prime clue to its tenebrific air and almost vampiric temptation, Rio carrying a Pete Murphy air to some of his persistently highly enjoyable, ever moving delivery. Mark’s imagination spins another labyrinth of melody and haunted sound too, evolving textures as radiant as they are emotively darksome to seduce and ensnare.
Through the galvanic punk rock of Disassociation and the intrigue soaked flirtation of Waiting For God ears are thrilled and the album’s variety stretched with the latter revolving its charms in ears and imagination like a temptress whilst wearing Theatre of Hate/ The Danse Society sourced inspiration as another alluring spice to its own spellbinding and tenacious revelry. Both tracks whip up body and spirit with sublime yet forceful ease, being quickly and as boldly matched in results by the slightly calmer and heavier fascination of Trespass. Maybe the most pop lined song on the album it just as openly shares raw shadows whilst boisterously serenading the listener, and as those before, it only sparks emotional and physical participation.
Bloodline closes with Life Is.., its tribal incitement of rhythms alone enough to incite allegiance, bewitchingly assisted by the fuzzy glow of melodies and variety coated vocals. Something akin to a fusion of Calling All Astronauts and Inca Babies but not, the wonderfully niggling song saunters and swings with increasing infection; an aural epidemic from which there is no escape as it brings one very fine release to a tremendous conclusion.
You cannot evade sadness listening to Bloodline but neither the joy sparked by its simply stunning presence.
Bloodline is out now through Westworld Recordings.
Video Dir. Carl Arnfield / ChalkmanVideo.com
Pete RingMaster 06/03/2017
Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright