Just in time to provide the perfect soundtrack for those cold winter nights, Pinkish Black‘s sophomore album ‘Razed To The Ground‘ comes to us through a surprising new alliance with Century Media. Spawned from the ashes of the late, great Yeti, this follow up to the debut album from 2012 builds beautifully on the established characteristics of the duo’s sound and sees them soar higher and at the same time plunge, when necessary, into lower depths.
A duo comprising vintage synths and drums topped with the velvety, Morrison esque crooning of Daron Beck, Pinkish Black have that wonderful gift of having a sound that wears influences on its sleeve – think hints of the Doors, Christian Death, Goblin and perhaps even Tangerine Dream in places – but welds them together into an entirely individual identity. The minimal line up does nothing to prevent them creating a massive wall of dark, beautifully cosmic sound.
Atmosphere is key here but not at the expense of the songs. The pair have taken a mostly synthetic approach in instrumentation but produce results that are anything but the robotic, soulless sound you’d expect. Through rhythm and textures, this music is dripping with emotion – often melancholy or sadness as personified on the likes of ‘Astray Eyes’ or ‘Bad Dreamer’.
But it’s not all woe. Far from it. ‘She Left Him Red’, the opening track, is the sound of aliens landing and running amok, almost Zeuhl style in its jagged drumbeats and menacing synth attack.
And the track ‘Rise’, the second to last here, has in some ways been an absolute curse to me in trying to review this record for the simple reason I can’t get past it, I’ve had it on repeat for weeks.
It sums up the two sides of the band perfectly and blends them expertly – opening in an ominous but propulsive fashion with a cascade of rumbling drums and swirling keys over a dark, distorting sounding bassline. Beck’s expressive baritone adds drama in the verses and reaches its peak in the chorus. Unexpectedly then after this forward motion, the tempo drops into an almost funeral pace that has more in common with the average doom band. But rather than wallow in abject misery, the synths seem to expand, layering over one another and taking the song into a whole other, spacey direction. It’s like Neurosis trying to cover Eno & Kluster. One of the best songs I’ve heard this year and the perfect taste of what this band is all about. The Gothic and the Galactic meeting head on.
It feels like the closing ‘Loss Of Feeling Of Loss’ with its more luxurious pacing (it’s the longest track here) allows the band to let themselves get swept fully away by the tides their music creates around them, engulfing them, letting them slowly fade beneath the sonic mist. You should join them. It’s fine place to get lost.
Scribed by: Jamie Grimes