As the weather turns ever colder and the nights ever darker, it seems only fitting that we get round to covering some Goth on DownTuned, and they don’t come much Gothier than London’s (And formerly Warsaw’s) Higher Love.
While The Cure are the obvious touchstone throughout this demo, there are touches of U2 (Especially in the twangy, hangy guitar lines) and Joy Division to be had, and at least a faint glimmer of perrenial underdogs London After Midnight and some very early (Read: very odd) Human League. There’s certainly a very 80s vibe going on, and the heavily accented vocals actually help add to the generally vampiric atmosphere at times, putting me in mind of Outcast (not the “Hey-Yah!” Andre 3000 ones…), and this has the potential to be a major selling point for the band, if only they weren’t quite so po-faced (Or possibly “Poe” faced?) about it all. Goth, while being deadly serious, is also an inherently ridiculous form, and it’s best practitioners know and play on this. This failing is unfortunately particularly apparent on “Do You Talk About Love”, where amatuerish production and deadly seriousness combine to create humour for all the wrong reasons.
Fortunately things pick up on closer “Piece of Mind” which doesn’t just steal it’s title from Iron Maiden, with a nice “Remember Tomorrow”-esque opening riff which unfortunately then fails to go anywhere. This is a major stumbling block for the band, as a lot of the time songs noodle along as if waiting to burst into action. While this could be used to create a sense of impending dirge-like dread, here it just leaves the impression of choruses hunting for a song to join.
Overall a touch more pomp and cicumstance wouldn’t go amiss here, as songs are a little short and the aforementioned production needs some serious beefing up. If they get it right, then they could easily hang out in the graveyard with Moonspell.