By Samuel Peirce
Album: To Deaf And Day
Label: Dune Altar
Release Date: October 27, 2017
When it comes to creating moody atmospheres, no genre does it quite like post-punk. It’s the perfect music to sit and mope to that makes you feel cool while doing said moping. The genre itself is broad and isn’t limited to synthy dirges, of course. But Glaare’s debut LP To Deaf And Day certainly takes a page from the likes of gothic post-punk pioneers Joy Division and The Cure, while having enough contemporary influences to keep things fresh and exciting.
The tone of the album is established within the first few seconds. “My Love Grows in Darkness,” opens with a few airy strums of distorted guitar backed by a haunting synth before kicking into a trudging rhythm, followed by Rachel Pierce’s cold yet elegant singing. The drums are steady throughout and keep an up-tempo pace. Immediately of note is the lush quality of the album. Unlike their oft-minimalistic forebearer, Glaare has a very full sound. The rich production and occasional dance beats are at times akin to Depeche Mode while being very melodic throughout.
This sensibility is even more evident on the second track, “Like They Do.” Again, this song has a driving drum beat and great synth sound throughout. The guitar has that jangly, shiny new wave texture a la The Cure. The reverberated vocals are reminiscent of Cocteau Twins both aesthetically and melodically. Pierce’s singing really stands out here, and the echo effect makes it sound as if it was recorded in a barren landscape. This song has somewhat of a dream pop/shoegaze quality, and gives the album a little more variety amidst some of the darker sounds.
The last track, “Surrender/Control,” is as uniquely intense among the other songs on this album and probably the noisiest. A spacey synth line winds along to the tapping drums while the guitar plays sparsely. This section builds up for over a minute before everything comes together with the eerie vocals. The result is a wall of sound. The drums are especially heavy here. Sonically, the guitar almost sounds electronic. Towards the end of the song, there’s a short, silent pause before all the instruments come back in full swing, giving an extra dynamic aspect to the piece. The song is definitely a dramatic closer.
To Deaf And Day is atmospheric, gloomy and a nice blend of modern dark wave and obvious 80’s influence. Even the songs that aren’t certified bangers still have enough personality to keep up the mood. If you like current synth pop that’s drenched in dreamy ambience but still catchy, and you also like being cool, then you’ll like this album.