Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Unkindness of Ravens


Sounding as though they've come straight off the pages of an Edgar Allen Poe novel, Unkindness of Ravens are a dark pop group lost in a bad dream. With a vibe that almost feels like the Ting Tings if they were gothic, Unkindness of Ravens have most definitely taken the girl/boy band thing to the dark side of town and roughed it up a bit. Their album Virus is a trollop through grinding industrial sounds, eerie vocals, and a minimalist approach to songwriting.

To say that Virus is a dark record is like saying the sun is bright; in fact this thing is so gloomy and stark that all hope should be abandoned before popping this on. With just a guitar, a drum machine running a demo program, and soaring but distraught boy/girl vocals Unkindness of Ravens cloud things up with next to nothing and succeed at making an evocative, grim, but very good record. Their barely there approach, their dark matter, their seemingly over it vibe create an atmosphere that's cloudy, murky, and almost hopeless. And yet within that world the songs are simplistically beautiful and un-tethered by complicated techniques. With their distorted guitar, a sputtering drum machine and emotionally draining vocals Unkindness of Ravens create more ambience over the course of nine songs than some bands do in their entire discography.

Far from chipper and closer to gothicdom then they’d probably like to admit, Unkindness of Ravens take their nearly non-existent approach and churn out beatific, smoky, grave pop that might just scare you a bit. Thoroughly enjoyable despite its obvious overtones, Virus is a cold stark reminder of the other side of life and all that goes with it. The fact that somehow with all this weighty material they manage to make music that's worth listening to again is truly spectacular. So grab your trench coat, pack of Clove cigarettes, and help us all pull some rope in tribute to the Unkindness of Ravens.

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