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Partly Faithful - Lazarus Under Glass (2013) - Review

Band: Partly Faithful
Album title: Lazarus Under Glass
Release date: 26 April 2013
Label: Danse Macabre Records

01. Lazarus Rising
02. Amen
03. Underset
04. Hatchet
05. Collapsing
06. Big Bang Medicine
07. Stop
08. Wasting Ground
09. Obsession
10. Skin
11. Scribbles
12. We Are Insect
13. Lazarus Under Glas

While most of the old-school mirrored bands tend to be sonically monolithic, Partly Faithful knows the value of shifting moods. The Londoners are unique in their ability to mix real post-punk/rock with more theatrical, glam, shoegaze and indie elements and not come off like a handful of spitting images. Glorious 80's spectres such as Bauhaus or earlier Christian Death are present in Lazarus Under Glass, even though those are only isolated coordinates in their own style plan. Irreverence against nihilism sharps the band’s debut album, that has been mixed and co-produced by Lewis Childs (Nosferatu) at Earth Terminal Studios. The current line-up consists in: Ed Banshee (Screaming Banshee Aircrew), dramatic glam voice, Christopher Blake (S.O.N.Y./Dr Vampire), bass rider, and Anouska Haze (Rubella/Exotica), shimmering & shuddering guitar sounds (Daniel Ash, don’t challenge her!). Furthermore Belle Star‘s (Nosferatu) hard-edged drums and Jason Lipscombe (Clockwork Era) guest backing vocals are included. All of the Partly Faithful’s split personalities are on display in Lazarus Under Glass, which will become an influential record with no doubt. Playing it loud…

The dystopian intro “Lazarus Rising” (which draws its inspiration from a fiction written by female guitarist Anouska) set a menacing environment. As a violent reaction to the previous one, “Amen”, burst with energy into the scene. The distorted guitars howl around Ed’s trademark delirious vocals (backing echoed as in a sabbath), bringing to mind the “cross and bones” trademark. Throughout the thirteen tracks, Anouska didn’t hesitate to go off in more experimental directions, changing keys unexpectedly or simply soloing her way up the neck of the guitar to provide an anxiety-inducing counterpoint to the rest of the rhythm section. On the contrary, “Underset” (recently released as single) takes an angry-twisted indie rock path, deflowering the poppy mood with squeaking chords. Next up, “Hatchet” comes off like a definite rockabilly track with groovy riffing, bass gallops and persistent drumming. Then, Banshee’s raspy and theatrical voice curls into the strangled guitars, being inmersed all into the post-punk waters. Indeed this band knows how to flout the rules at will, as demonstrated by the experimental sound approaches in “Collapsing” and “Big Bad Medicine”, but don’t make mistake cause every track here has the darkness and gloom creds. “Stop” makes its appearence vigorous and perturbing, driven by a distorted bass line and the Ed’s trembling moans above a explosive pace. The following track, “Wasting Ground”, is a crafty brooding ballad of earlier goth-in-rock that releases (partly) the accumulated tension. Right after, Banshee’s sermon gives rise to the pulsating bass lines and the punk rock gale strikes again with “Obsession”. The fast paced intensity is relentless pretty much with the unsettling, sensual and spare atmospheric “Skin”, increasing the temperature with an erotic gasping duetto near the end. The upbeat post-punk “Scribbles” (live anthem, previously only available as a drum machine demo) and the addictive old-school stained “We Are Insect”, forms the last high voltage discharge. The CD ends with the remarkable title track “Lazarus Under Glass”. One of its kind, this hypnotic and elegantly enhanced song blends together post-punk, goth rock and shoegaze sounds. Some kind of a velvet sinister rock soundscape that will thrill you for sure.

Music in Lazarus Under Glass is loud, intense, noisy but at the same time, sufficiently surrounding, introspective and often changes pace, something most current bands can’t claim. For all the pounding, fast, punkish songs, there are still dirgy, unsettling ones, and tracks of pure rabid collage hell. First wave firmly rooted post-punk with enough contemporary elements to keep the things attractive. This album would have blown you away thirty years ago and will do it now for sure. Lazarus has been resurrected to kill the mainstream.

Review written by: Billyphobia (Virus G)
Rating: 9/10