FULL PRESS // bleedinggold.com/so-sexual/
Originally released on 30th September, 2013.
Romping home in the best new band name of the year stakes, Transient Scenes the debut EP by Liverpudlian quartet So Sexual is immersed in the compelling gloom of post-punk.
The line up of synth, bass, live drums and occasional guitar interjections creates an expansive sound that evokes the chill wind of the late 70s/early 80s Cold War, mercifully avoiding the now done-to-death spiky guitar sound of Gang of Four.
Honing in on a sound equally inspired by early era Human League (Reproduction, Travelogue) and the brittle narratives of Seventeen Seconds era The Cure, the pin-sharp, high clarity production has the tunes to match and the pop sensibilities to boot.
Released through boutique San Diego label Bleeding Gold Records, the lavishly presented double 7” set commences with the propulsive ‘Dear Sweetheart’, the emotional wail of the vocals centred around a simple synth riff.
The mixture of elegiac and metronomic reaches its peak on second track ‘Slow’, (check out the video here) a hindsight-heavy lyric anchored by a bassline vaguely similar to The Killers’ murder case mini-novella ‘Jenny Was a Friend of Mine’, that seeps into the memory deliciously.
‘A Place Unknown’ boasts the heaviest Cure influence of the set, the rumbling drum passages harking back to the gothic doyens 1982 LP Pornography.
‘People Talk’ last, closes proceedings with the darkest track of the collection, evinced by the lyric ‘losing control of the things we do/Are you willing to go where this path leads to?’
Underpinned by a chorus-pedal drenched bass riff backed with a simple descending distorted guitar riff the track builds impressively before heading into a lengthy fade-out.
A compelling mixture of downbeat atmospheres, elliptical lyrics and expansive instrumentation, Transient Scenes despite the title referring to something fleeting clearly proves So Sexual have staying power.
Having created a buzz amongst their local scene on shows with the likes of Death Masks, The Shondes, British Sea Power and Outfit, Liverpool post-punk quartet, So Sexual are readying the release of their debut EP ‘Transient Scenes’.
The upcoming EP follows the band’s brilliant debut single, “This Is Where The Story Ends” with b-side “Santa Carla” (read our review) from earlier this year. Equal parts goth and post-punk but with pop sensibilities, the single showcased a sound not unlike that of White Lies, taking influence from first wave bands such as Joy Division and Sheffield’s Artery.
The EP opens with “Dear Sweetheart” and immediately sets the tone, sending the listener hurtling back to the early 80′s. With its dark, new-wave meets post-punk sound “Dear Sweetheart” is a melodic, vocal-driven pop song bolstered together by bass and vintage 80′s synths, most reminiscent of the London post-punk act, Torches (read our review of their brilliant “Someone Needs A Ritual” single from last year). A brilliant start to the EP.
“Slow”, which we reviewed earlier in the month (read our review), follows next. The first thing you’ll notice is the funk inflected bass line which drives the song in a similar way that say, Peter Hook’s bass drove Joy Division’s “Atmosphere”. A layer of warm synths sit atop of the mix, while Peter’s Ian Curtis meets Tony Hadley vocal provides the song’s main melody. All in all, “Slow” calls to mind Spandau Ballet circa ‘Journeys To Glory‘ both sonically and vocally.
On the flip-side we have “A Place Unknown” and “People Talk”, both of which darker, moodier and less dynamic than their counterparts.
“A Place Unknown” is the least remarkable of the four songs; a mid-paced track with a promising beginning thanks to its vocal hook, but ultimately the song never quite finds its stride.
The synth melody that characterises the solid, Joy Division-inspired “People Talk” brings with it a sense of melancholy and another wave of nostalgia. When the vocal delivers the line “people talk, people talking all around us…”, you’d be forgiven if you thought it was 1983 all over again. The final 3 minutes sees the band lock into an dark, instrumental groove before fading out.
As we mentioned when reviewing the band’s single, some of the playing is a little loose here and there, particularly during the last two tracks. But those “warts” don’t necessarily let the recordings down and certainly in the case of punk and post-punk music so-called perfection is not as important as mood and energy.