|The Foreign Resort|
Hailing from Copenhagen, Denmark, this band got their start in 2006 and is composed of band members Mikkel (vocals, guitars), Henrik (guitar), and Morten (drums). They started putting together a number of tracks and in 2009 released their debut album titled Offshore. The band stayed busy performing a number of live shows and improving their sound. They received the support of afmusic in Europe and Monolathe Recordings in the USA for the release of their self-titled 2011 EP. This EP marks an excellent step in the growth of the band as they move beyond simple post-punk and driving guitar-laiden new wave styles to more of a shimmering, shoegaze sound with all of the classic influences holding it all together with a solid foundation. The band remained busy writing and composing new music with the release of Scattered & Buried in 2012 and then a couple of singles and their 2014 album New Frontiers followed by The American Dream EP originally released in 2015 and then re-released in the USA in 2016 with their tour. All of this was done while the band has toured extensively including several North American routes.
Here at Gothic Paradise we've been captivated by the sound of this band as they mix classic influences from the likes of Joy Division, The Cure and My Bloody Valentine. They take these classic styles and mix them with layers of shimmering guitar, expecially on their latest material for a mesmerizing sound. The band continues to tour beyond just the confines of Northern Europe but venture beyond the borders into the United States and other countries. They are working on new material which we'll soon feature here and look forward to much more from this project.
The American Dream - Review
Here we have the latest from this band in the form of this five-track EP. Continuing to build on their solid mix of post-punk and shoegaze with soaring layers of guitars and melodic vocals, we have another short collection to enjoy here in between the band's many tours all over the world. As the title suggests, the band takes on a bit of a political and social debate through the music which fits right into the post-punk style over the years.
The album is introduced through a slowly building mix of layered soaring guitars and then the listener is launched right into the fray with the driving bass and percussion on "The New Blood". This piece seems to hearken back a bit to the older, driving post-punk styles of the band's earlier years while still building on the shoegaze sound which comes out prominently as the track moves along. However, the real strength of the band comes out in "Suburban Depression" with the melancholic mix of heavy reverb on the thick guitars and somber vocals. The emotionally captivating elements of the band stand out strong on this piece and then are picked up again on "Under Bright Neon Stars". These heavy somber moods come out strong and so thick you can cut it with a knife through these pieces, and this is the strength and the captivating power of the music from these artists as the layers of guitars act as a voice on their own, wrapping the listener in their warm embrace and then holding on tightly to never let go through the duration of each track. This captivating power remains strong as we come to the close of the EP on "Skyline/Decay". While it starts off with ambient electronics, this gradually gives way to the somber bass guitar and somber and subtle percussion and other guitars while the vocals carry the message to the heart of the listener.
This is another great work from this band which has become a favorite here on Gothic Paradise with us and our listeners. Definitely a new staple in the post-punk and shoegaze sound of this decade.
New Frontiers - Review
This band just keeps getting better and better with each new release. It seems they've really found their style and are able to build on it and create some great new music. This album manages to capture the latest creations from this group across nine stellar tracks that have the potential to become new classics.
It all starts off strong with the excellent new favorite "Alone". While at first appearing quite upbeat and bouncy, as we get into the lyrics and chorus the mood definitely take a more emotionally darker shift as we all relate to the feelings of being alone one way or another. Having that connection makes the music take on a much more meaningful feeling which amplifies the emotion that comes out with the shimmering guitars and moving beats. Each track really comes alive in their own light, some with a simpler, minimalistic style that build up to the dynamic crescendos of screaming guitars while others come out strong with wave after wave of the sonic onslaught. We see these dynamic shifts throughout the course of the album as we come to "Dead End Roads" we see the heavy influence of various synths and electronic loops help lay the foundation for the driving guitars and percussion. This track stands out with this structure and a captivating beat and catchy melody over the heavy backing soundscapes. The transition from this intense piece is very dynamic as we get a shift in intensity with the stellar track "Dead Leaves". Starting off fairly simple, the soft backing guitars soaring through the air as the mid-tempo beat moves along nicely, the somber mood is thick with melancholy for a definite favorite on this album. After that somber track we're thrown right back into the thick of the dynamic intensity of "Flushed" which has a definite new wave feel to it at the start with the pulsating electronics undulating underneath the shimmering guitars and grave vocals and lyrics. This all slowly builds to an incredible crescendo that leaves the listener breathless as the guitars take on a voice of their own mixed with the vocals for an intensely delicious sound.
I could potentially write something great about every track on the album, each has a part to lend to the overall story and enjoyable in their own light as well. The intensity of the guitars and drums create such a great sound that comes out so well on each piece. As the album winds down we're presented with another spellbinding masterpiece full of heart-breaking emotion and captivating music on "Quiet Again". This final dynamic track leaves the listener satisfied yet like a drug, creating an addiction that is only satisfied by more great music. Luckily this band continues to supply the fix we need and enjoy and this finale to the album is a great way to sum and wrap it all up in style. This is an album I can recommend definitely listening to from start to finish, but for those enjoying our radio shows you'll definitely hear the highlights above and the band also has some great videos to enjoy of some of these on youtube, so check those out as well.
Scattered & Buried - Review
It was nice to hear that so soon after picking up their first album and EP that we're presented with another work. This new disc is a mix of old and new styles for the band, featuring a number of various remixes as well as some great new material. All of this comes together across ten tracks for an excellent selection of great music.
We're immediately launched into the onslaught of driving, shimmering layers of guitars on "Delayed" which has quickly become a favorite from this disc. The various styles of guitar effects and reverb come at the listener wave after wave accented by moving percussion and angst-ridden vocals for an excellent sound. This really reflects the bands more mature and hard-hitting style as portrayed across other pieces, though there is still plenty of variety. "Rocky Mountains" appears a bit later with much of this style of over-the-top tidal waves of guitar as another stellar piece and favorite. This is immediately followed by a remake of "Lost My Way" which the original appeared on Offshore, though you would hardly recognize the song from one version to the other. See my review of Offshore for a more detailed description of this stellar piece. This immediately brings us to yet another favorite from the album in "Tide". Here the guitars take a little bit less of a prominent role as pulsating electronics and a mid-tempo beat lay the ground-work for this piece coupled with the soft, somber vocals.
At this point the album takes a little different shift in styles and mood as we get into the various remixes. Appearing are several favorites from their self-titled EP released last year. The "Novachild Remix" of "Orange Glow" starts off with an ambient, chill-out style until about halfway through the piece when it suddenly builds to a powerful onslaught of grinding guitars for a bit before dropping off again, creating an interesting and excellent remix. The "Sway Remix" of "Heart Breaks Down" was a bit of a disappointment. I suppose on it's own it's fine, it's definitely a dreamy mix with various electronic and overprocessed sounds with a lot of reverb, but as the original is an all-time favorite, it's hard to measure up and I wouldn't envy anyone who takes on the task of remixing this piece. The remix of "Take A Walk" is probably the one that most fans may be interested in as this seems to be the "hit" from the EP. As the "Runner's Mix" it takes on more of an electronic approach with house and techno style swooshing synths over the top of other various electronics. As the album winds down we're presented with a slightly shorter "Radio Edit" of "Delayed" which I think most listeners here will be familiar with as we've been giving it plenty of air-time on our Club Mix radio show.
Overall it's great to have some excellent new material, it's nice to see the band continue to build on great styles that we really enjoy here like "Delayed", "Rocky Mountains", "Lost My Way (2012 Mix)" and "Tide". The other tracks presented are good as well, some with more of a post-punk style and others with the different take from the remixes. This album is definitely worth picking up for fans of everything from driving shoegaze, post-punk and the guitar-driven side of new wave music.
The Foreign Resort EP - Review
This EP is what got me hooked on this band, so it's a great introduction to their current sound. This short EP features five driving tracks spotlighting their evolved post-punk and shoegazer sound.
It kicks off quickly with the intense track "Colleen", providing a nice segue from their driving indie rock style that was prominent on their debut album, yet introduces much of the layered shimmering and driving guitars that are so prominent on the rest of the EP. "Orange Glow" brings on a bit of the darker goth style with added electronics and heavy percussion as a back-drop for the onslaught of driving, layered guitars. This heavy style and mix of percussion and guitars is really what grabbed my attention and held me captivated. On this piece we have that perfect recipe for driving shoegazer with turns between somber elements while the vocals sing each verse and then the intensity kicks in between and during the chorus, building to a dynamic and breathtaking climax only to be dropped again leaving the listener breathless.
For me the highlight of the album is definitely "Heart Breaks Down". This somber piece drifts along on a mid-tempo beat with crooning guitars similar to The Cure of the late 80's, but that's not even the best part. As we drift along the distorted guitars kick in with intense, driving percussion and throbbing electronics and an excellent reverb. This track moves along like this as the simple vocals repeat "Heart aches, heart breaks down. Heart aches, heart breaks, tumbling down". Simple, intense, beautiful, fun... all of the above and more. Now compared to that piece, it's really hard to compare or match it, but the rest of the EP still remains pretty good. "Take a Walk" is a driving punk / indie-rock piece (though I have to throw out an f-bomb warning on this piece, something we try to encourage artists to stay away from) and then the final piece "Torch It" picks back up with the similar structures of "Orange Glow" and "Heart Breaks Down" with more intense shoegaze style guitars and more of a somber mood, though the beat and pace remains intense and driving.
There you have it, an excellent EP that introduces us to an excellently evolved style from this band. Fans of driving, guitar-laiden music with a slight 80's new wave and post-punk feel will love this band and especially this EP, go pick it up!
Offshore - Review
After catching a taste of the band's 2011 EP we had to go back and pick up this debut album. I'm glad we did as it provides a little bit of a contrast showing how the band has evolved and grown slightly over the years, but also it's a great opportunity to catch up and listen to more of the great music from this band. We're presented with nine tracks, showcasing the bands earlier sound grounded heavily in indie and post-punk styles.
The album starts off great launching immediately into the excellent post-punk sound of "The Starlit Sea". This is a groovy little number with a syncopated, swing rhythm and a nice mix of various driving guitars layered over the heavy bass and percussion. As we start to get into the album we pick up more on the foundation and signature sound of this band, right away "Into the Sunshine" picks right up with this sound. Here we have excellent moving percussion mixing it up and keeping it going while an excellent combination of various guitar styles from soaring, to strummed and driving, all held together by subtle synths and providing the fabric for the backdrop to the solid vocals, for the most part remaining melodic, but dipping and reaching for the emotionally drenched high notes.
With this recipe for a Foreign Resort track, we're able to pick out several excellent pieces and new classics from this band. These first two introductory tracks mentioned above definitely make the cut and as we move on, others stand out as well. Following the timeline of "Towards the Dusk", "Night" and "Morning" all come together well with heavy percussion and a nice mix of all the great post-punk emotional styles. "Lost My Way" jumps out as a sort of happy-go-lucky piece that probably normally wouldn't have really caught my ear except that I heard a 2011 remix for a shoegazer compilation that pretty much blew me away. I think it's worth mentioning this alternate mix here as it's worth going out and picking it up. This alternate remix sounds like they handed the vocals over to The Jesus and Mary Chain and they threw on some heavy reverb, making it sound distant and heavy with longing, then throwing it all together with heavily distorted, driving, grinding, shimmering guitars for a really excellent, memorable piece.
As the album wraps up we're presented with a nice finale to the album in "Relax (it's only Love)". This mid-tempo pieces leans heavier on the electronics and solid beat for the most part, occasionally building slightly, but for the most part remaining a solid, steady track. Those pieces not mentioned leave a little to be desired, not necessarily bad in any way, just a little oppressive with the crashing percussion, or other elements, you just have to be in the right mood for them I suppose. That wraps up the album and this review, hopefully leaving a taste of what to expect, which is really overall a good start for this band and something fans can pick up and enjoy.
Label: AF Music