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The Danse Society - Sailing Mirrors (2020) - Review

Band: The Danse Society
Album title: Sailing Mirrors
Release date: 1 September 2020
Label: Society Records
Genre: Post-Punk, Gothic Rock, Alternative Rock

01. Danse Away Your Love
02. Sailing Mirrors
03. Valerio's Theme
04. Hiding In Plain Sight
05. Kill U Later
06. And I Wonder If
07. Invincible
08. Hypnotise
09. We Fall

There's no need to explain much about the British cult band The Danse Society because those who follow our web magazine should already know everything about them. Yes, the band has turned 40 years old in 2020 and they had big plans for touring and festival appearances if the pandemic wouldn't strike. But still, the band managed to release their seventh album Sailing Mirrors, and recently also a huge compilation album 40 Years Of Dance (A-Z), which was sold out very quickly. Now about their last studio album, Sailing Mirrors... It's absolutely one of the best albums that The Danse Society ever made, and shows the band who doesn't rest on past laurels but wants to go on with constant changes and developments, and that's one of the things that I admire about this band.

Many say that this is not the same band as it used to be back in the 80s, but does that really matter since The Dance Society with this new line-up, with the only remaining member being the guitarist Paul Nash, have still a lot to say in the fields of post-punk, gothic rock and experimental dark alternative music. Since the reformation in 2011, they are fronted by one of the best female vocalists you can find in this scene, Maethelyiah, and on this album, she shows may be better than ever her vocal capability (apart from her solo project Blooding Mask, which is a true form of sonic theatrical dark art), and that she was the right choice back then.

The music of The Danse Society is changing from album to album, but this one has some connections with the previous one VI (2015). The songs are versatile and show many facets of the band. What to expect was already indicated a bit with the EP Futur1st in 2018, but still, Sailing Mirrors consists of nine songs that are full of surprises. This is not an album that will appeal on the first go, it needs some time and some spins to be really experienced as it should. The songs range from typical post-punk to gothic rock, darkwave, bluesy alter rock, even noise rock, dark pop and psychedelic rock.

I will not deny that my favourite songs are the moody, atmospheric, brooding ones, and there is plenty of those. The amazing evocative yet theatrical ballad "Sailing Mirrors", which on top of everything has some amazing gothic/symphonic keys, then the vocally very strong, catchy and playful "Valerio's Theme", the moody and dramatic highlight of the album "Kill U Later" or the mesmerizing and deeply atmospheric "And I Wonder If", with an amazing guitar solo, are all so very captivating and I'm sure that these songs can attract different listeners. On the other side the songs like is the psychedelic theatrical and almost avant-garde "Hiding In Plain Sight" give a counterbalance and do refresh things up a bit. As well the strong rhythmic line that gives balance to rather pop vocal lines in "Invincible" is truly special and in a nice way gives some additional heaviness. There's quite some 80s smelling stuff, from many old-school post-punk guitars, some danceable rhythms and especially the vintage keys on many occasions.

This album is almost without a single miss, maybe "Hypnotise" sounds a little too mellow, but it still keeps the spirit on a high level and I can't really call it a filler. Sailing Mirrors ends in a powerful way with the darkly vivacious "We Fall" and forces the listener to repeat everything from start to finish. The Danse Society did a great job on this album, and they had to do it for their respectful anniversary. It's obvious that this band has still a lot of things to say as it seems that they are more alive than ever. If you are a fan of any kind of dark rock and want the music with some twists, then you need this album, otherwise, you are missing a lot.

The review was written by Tomaz
Rating: 8,5/10