This month sees Darkness, the debut album from THE SWEET KILL get its vinyl release. It is an encounter unveiled digitally earlier this year to keen praise and now gets a well-deserved nudge on greater attention and recognition. Quite simply, Darkness is an encounter and exploration no post punk/dark wave fan should be ignoring.
Los Angeles based, THE SWEET KILL is the solo project of Pete Mills who previously fronted Vancouver’s infamous FLASH BASTARD. His new venture draws on the sounds and heart of early post punk and darkwave/gothic punk, the album an emotive and evocative exploration of intimacy within atmospheric and physical shadows which at times seem to draw on THE CURE. Similarly, artists such as PINK TURNS BLUE, THE SLOW READERS CLUB and INTERPOL came to mind across the release yet it is an encounter and sound which burnt its own firm individuality and prowess on the imagination.
As suggested, Darkness draws on the most intimate thoughts and emotions of its creator, moments and experiences easily and readily relatable adding greater depth and intensity to the release. Yet its tracks are also fuelled with virulent catchiness and crafted with hooks of contagion, its dark pop inclinations just as compelling as proven by its title track which opens up the album.
A deeply resonating and instinct calling bassline erupts from its first breath; beats clipping the senses with matching intent as the template for Mills sound rhythmically is set but subsequently and persistently evolved over the ten tracks. As quickly his darkly coated tones and emotions are alongside, his voice again a lure to an existing appetite as too the melodic sways of electronic and sonic temptation. The track is superb, a compelling and contagious slice of tension bred dark rock, a DEAD REGISTER hue adding to its tenebrific majesty.
The following Closer is a crepuscular romance, an exploration of the ultimate union between hearts and essences cast in another hungrily virulent proposal. The song swings and twists with almost rapacious urgency yet melodically caresses the senses as vocals and rhythms manipulative and like its predecessor proves effortlessly addictive just as equally its successor Satellite. It is a calmer if no less emotionally driven proposal, a manipulative canter gripping ears before the track erupts with Mills’ rock instincts; the track becoming a cathartic release of tension and intensity before relaxing into that captivating gait again. The cycle explodes with increasing power and invention each time yet for all its tempestuousness reassuring catchiness still gets under the skin before Heart Attack brings the anxieties and perils of loneliness and its escape forward for contemplation. Again an inner and physical voice rose up in union with its dilemma and roar, the song a heart bred fire of pop and rock restlessness.
As Love dives into the fantasy and reality of its title with viral eighties synth pop tempting within a shadow bound atmosphere and Cold similarly embraces nostalgic catchiness and synth enterprise within darkened skies of intimacy, sufferance and negative experience, the album only drew us deeper into its clutches, further anxiety and agitation within ravenous temptation awaiting. Both tracks revolve in darkness and resonate light, as all songs in varying degrees and designs, with the cover of NINE INCH NAILS’ Hurt a prize example as it sees Mills drawing out its suffering and aching to uncage a bolder catharsis of introspective pain with a nod to The Cure classic, Fascination Street adding to the compelling proposition.
Rain simply adds to the outstanding moments within Darkness, one after another getting under the skin with this track a major highlight with its melancholic liveliness and animated intimation. It is another track also relishing the cinematic quality in so much of Mills composing with Die walking under noir skies with composed agility and clamorous beauty whilst seeking the light of destiny and perfection in love with matching drama and impressiveness.
Album closing Sea Of Fate brings the album to a triumphant conclusion, a rousing rock song bred in its author’s instinctive gothic shadows while “bringing hope for all unrequited love”.
Darkness is an examination and release of the darkest places within, an honest and open appraisal but equally an adventure of spirit invigorating sound which as we suggested earlier no fan of dark courting genres should let escape their attention.
Darkness is out now on Young & Cold Records; available digitally and on Ltd Ed vinyl (300) and CD (200) @ https://thesweetkill.bandcamp.com/releases
Pete RingMaster 07/09/2022
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