Unless you quintessentially exhumed a majority of the 80s post-punk roster, the UK hasn’t truthfully had its hand in the goth rock scene for quite some time now sadly, despite having such a long lineage of iconic names such as Sisters Of Mercy and The Cure to boast about. This lack of overt popularity however doesn’t mean that there aren’t any British bands dabbling in the dark arts, oh no, they just do it discreetly, in the shadows, like proper goth’s per se and that’s where Her Despair come in.
The London-based lamenters cemented themselves as one of the UK’s brightest (or bleakest) underground prospects with last year’s stunning Mournography EP. Delicately mixing a sense of modern melancholia with a nostalgic nuance, they found themselves bridging the gap between the aforementioned Sisters Of Mercy and latter day artists such as The Cruxshadows to brilliant effect. 2019 finds them releasing the highly anticipated follow up Exorcisms Of Eroticism, so let’s go all Regan MacNeil as we check it out and let Jesus…well, you know the rest.
Opening track ‘Pandaemonium’ wastes no time getting into the almost orchestral levels of grandiose, gothic atmospherics; it’s tone is both sweeping and chilling, before vocalist J chirps in with his traditionally stoic baritone vocals, adding a sense of darkness. A generally regimented track, it marches along in a predominantly methodical manner before its eventual impassioned crescendo. As openers go this track is structured perfectly; we’re off to a brilliant start here. If we’re going to be talking about brilliance however then look no further than ‘The Exorcism’; this is arguably the catchiest the band have ever been. The synth driven melodies, the soothing vocal croon and hypnotic rhythm all result in a true modern gothic anthem; this will easily have you hitting the repeat button. The same can be said for ‘Like A Crucifixion’ really, which carries an equally up-beat, up-tempo bombardment of pomp and grandeur, this is arguably as close to a pop song as Her Despair get and it’s superb.
While the remaining tracks don’t quite hit the same levels of euphoria, with closing track ‘Final Rest’ for example opting for a softer, string-laden heart-rending piece giving the EP some well-crafted closure, we can’t deny that over a broad spectrum of gothic rock, here, Her Despair have delivered and then some. The production and song writing have both improved and above all else so has their confidence; what more can you ask for? The mourning maybe over, but the wake is in full swing.
Exorcisms of Eroticism is out 22nd November and can be purchased here.
Words: Gavin Griffiths