Mephisto Walz Insidious
By Ray Van Horn, Jr.
Youve heard this album before, or
should I say albums. Certainly not meant as an insult, but Mephisto
Walzs extremely retro sound will either comfort you or tick you off if
youre a purist. Mephisto Walz lassos in a brooding whos who of
influences and pulls it off rather well, capturing some of the gloomier
elements of eighties alternative, a combination of Joy Division, early
Psychedelic Furs, Siouxsie Sioux and Cocteau Twins.
The first three tracks, A Magic Bag, Our Flesh and
Watching from the Darkest Places chug and drone with the Psychedelic
Furs and to a lesser extent, Talk Talk Talk era Furs, as well as
Closer period Joy Division. The duo of Bari Bari, otherwise known as
Christian Deaths Barry Galvin, and Christiana obviously cling to the
eighties alternative scene as if expecting the out-of-nowhere return of
MTVs 120 Minutes any day now. Why not? They resurrected
Before These Crimes feels like Lush with a melancholy
calypso tempo. On the other hand, the following song, One Less Day,
while maintaining a slow pace changes from low key to a more vibrant and
poignant airiness. Very much in line with what made Cocteau Twins such an
underground favorite. The song really takes flight on the bridge and with some
sort of airplay could be a signature song for this duo.
I Want snarls forth in tandem with The Top-era
Cure, even sounding like Souixsie Sioux with its snidely gimme-gimme aura.
Nonetheless, the song grooves with a blackened seduction even with the
ear-splitting dénouement. Staying in Souixsie Sioux mode, Witches
Gold burns along with an acoustic base that sets up a grinding sonic
Memories Kill and Nightingale tinker with
conflicting musical emotions, particularly the latter song, which glides slight
pop brushstrokes on the chorus; the song is perhaps reminiscent of The Church
as it is mid-career Psychedelic Furs.
The true kicker of Insidious comes on the marvelous Ombra
Mai Fu, a breathtaking moment of opera, complete with full orchestration.
Christiana unleashes her absolute vocal potential, and together the effect is
nothing short of shattering. Where in the world? youll undoubtedly
Mephisto Walz is doing a rather good thing, if you ask me. I
got my heavy metal world of the eighties restored to me, for better or worse,
and with groups like Mephisto Walz I can also relive my college years spent in
late-blooming absorption of Violent Femmes, Depeche Mode and Echo and the
Bunnymen. Some good memories are associated with those groups. Nice to have to
have them back in whatever incarnation.
The Fossil Dungeon
Post: 43796 Tattinger Ter, Ashburn, VA, 20148-3125, USA
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