For the life of me, I cannot understand the current wave of day-glo 80’s nostalgia. Trying to revive trends from a decade that was for the most part devoid of good taste and common sense is, in my humble opinion at least, a very poor idea on the part of trendsetters the world over. Certainly as far as music goes, not even our heroes escaped the 1980s unscathed; I’m looking at you Bowie, Dylan, Young, et al.
Don’t even get me started on the godawful synth-pop, the influence of which now stinks up so much of today’s pop charts. Fortunately, solace can be found in the fact that there was actually quite a lot of great indie music produced in the decade that taste forgot; music that now influences bands such as Death Of Lovers and their gloomily impressive debut EP Buried Under A World Of Roses. Formed during an apparent meeting of minds between members of shoegaze revivalists Whirr and Nothing who bonded while touring together, Death Of Lovers eschew the MBV / Slowdive influences of their parent bands in favour of a more minor key, synth-led, goth flavour.
“Cold Heaven”, for example, recalls The Sisters Of Mercy or perhaps Joy Division at their most twitchy; deadpan, reverb drenched vocals hiding behind an urgent, shotgun drum beat, brooding organs, and awesome sounding guitars that perhaps belie the band members’ shoegaze day jobs. Dialling it back a few notches the sombre and slightly plodding “Shaken” comes next and though a capable enough slice of doomy goth miserablism, somehow doesn’t quite match the highs (or should that be lows, goth-fans?) found elsewhere.
Finishing strongly, the EP draws to a close with the excellent title track “Buried Under A World Of Roses” and the moody “The Blue Of Noon”. The former being a thrilling mix of The Cure and Joy Division which, like everything here, manages to be reverential to a grossly under appreciated genre without becoming pastiche. I couldn’t help but crack a wry smile at the refrain “Hold on to the brighter side of life”; I remember hearing something similar quite often during my own tragic attempt at a goth phase in my teens. The latter is a perhaps more successful stab at an emotional, downbeat goth tune than “Shaken” and serves as an atmospheric end to a solid debut from this potentially great indie supergroup.
Reverential without descending into pastiche, Death Of Lovers pay careful homage to some of the great indie bands your parents may well have loved in college. If they were cool, of course. Bust out your finest black threads, get your eyeliner on, and revel in this glorious reminder that not everything from the 80s is now influencing music that makes one want to plunge a chopstick into each tympanic cavity.