The Acrobat

Death Of Lovers

Dais Records, 2017

REVIEW BY: Vish Iyer


The very existence of Philadelphia-based Death Of Lovers is centered around the musical style of ‘80s goth. In this full-length debut, the band (comprised mostly of members of the shoegaze outfit Nothing) further sharpen the ethereal gloom of their debut EP Buried Under A World Of Roses into a more mature, better produced, and more polished sound. The Acrobat is less hung up on the “gloom and doom;” it is catchier and more open to incorporating aspects of pop.

On the opening track “Orphans Of The Smog,” the focal point is a foot-tapping drum beat that holds the song together along with a catchy bass hook that keeps repeating itself. This number has many of the characteristics of The Sisters Of Mercy on their album my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Vision Thing, firstly with its combination of danciness in a rock music setting and secondly by having an absolutely simple structure with no chorus. This track goes on and on in a repetitive manner with little or no changes along the way.

Although there are clear “shoegazer” aspects in this record with the hazy illegible singing and layered guitars, this is also a very synth-heavy disc; “Here Lies” will attest to this, with its all-out synth sound, including the bass and the drums. It sounds like an old school Depeche Mode number with its bouncy but dark music and soft vocals.

The best cuts lie in the middle of the album. “Ursula In B Major” is similar to “Orphans Of The Smog” with its repetitiveness, lack of chorus, and danciness. But it sounds fresher and more original, and it has a guitar hook that’s fabulous. “The Lowly People,” one of the less synth-dominated tracks here, is certainly uptempo but also has breezy guitars that are calming. “Perfect History” is like an upbeat and exciting ‘80s New Wave song.

The Acrobat loses steam towards the end on its last three cuts. “Quai d’ Orsay” is the worst of the bunch. Its pretty bare bones, sans beats or synths, exposes the album’s weaknesses, which are its so-so songwriting and arrangements. “Divine Song” is slow and dirge-like, and it is the most derivative number on the disc, sounding like a mix of early Cure songs. “The Absolute” brings the beats back, but on this track about greed and selfishness, the vocals are a tad melodramatic, enough to deflate the buzz created by the music

Without doubt, The Acrobat is an incredibly catchy album. However, its music adheres strictly to a very specific music style, and Death Of Lovers doesn’t do much to push it any further to make it more interesting. As a result, this record won’t do any good for those who are not into ‘80s goth music.

Rating: B-

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