Sun (Self release)
~review by Uncle Nemesis
A three-track demo CD from a gothic rock band from Poland, and a fairly traditional-sounding bunch they are, too. They’ve got that ol’ Sisters Of The Mission Of Mercy sound nailed, and just to reinforce the message, The Act’s singer, if the photos on the band’s website are any guide, affects that early-90s Eldritch style, all aviator shades and hands draped over the microphone. It’s influences-worn-on-sleeve time, folks.
‘Silver Is Golden’, the first track here, grumbles along like ‘First And Last And Always’ -period Sisters, if they’d got out of bed on the wrong side that morning. It’s downbeat and mid-tempo, the singer giving it his best Eldritchian drone, coming to life only on the chorus: ‘I’m walking through the shadows...’ Yep, they mention ‘shadows’ in the lyric. That’s another box ticked, then. The only slightly individualistic touch here is the keyboard line - a rather cool, sixties style pop-punk buzz that sounds like it’s on holiday from a Brides song. It sounds weirdly incongruous amongst the portentous gothic rockin’ of the band’s overall sound, but hints that somewhere underneath the dead weight of their influences The Act do have their own identity.
Track two is ‘Sun’, and for a moment I think we’re going to move into goth-metal territory. The guitar revs up a metallic riff, but the song as a whole is another mid-tempo trad-goth workout. The keyboards, on this one, come over all ‘Phantasmagoria’, but the psychedelic wit of The Damned is, alas, absent. Again, the only point on the song where the singer lets go of his usual downbeat style and injects a bit of passion is the chorus, which makes much of the word ‘emptiness’. Ho hum. I realise The Act are writing lyrics in their second language, and I applaud them for that, but even so - do they have to dutifully work their way through *every* goth-cliche in the book?
And finally, ‘Take It Away’ sees the band embrace their native language, and the singer immediately sounds somewhat more at home - although ‘home’ in this instance seems to be the guest suite at Schloss Lacrimosa. It’s a slightly more adventurous tune, inasmuch as it features some rather nifty layers of electronics - this one, I’m willing to bet, is the song on which the band’s keyboard player really got to put in a few ideas. The guitar gets all metallic again, and although I can’t say I’m particularly grabbed by what I’m hearing here (it’s just too Lacrimosa-like for my liking) I have to say this is the one song out of the three where The Act sound at least vaguely contemporary.
The Act come across as a band which hasn’t quite managed to get out from under the shadows (see? I can do it too!) of their influences - they’re rehashing some fairly standard moves here, and while I dare say there’s an audience out there for their none-more-traditional gothic rock I fear I’ve heard too much of this stuff over the years to get excited by it now. If the band manage to nudge their general sound in the direction of the high-drama metallic style they explore on ‘Take It Away’ they’d immediately sound a bit more ‘now’, although I confess I still wouldn’t be inclined to join their fan club.
One for the trad dads, I think.
The website: http://www.theact.gothic.pl
Reviewed by Uncle Nemesis: http://www.nemesis.to