Incredible as it may seem, goth music (in the traditional sense) is very much alive and well, and didn’t simply disappear with the Sister’s of Mercy’s ‘Vision Thing’ at some point in the early 1990s. Like most music movements, it simply went underground – although over a period of time the ‘goth’ tag has been unwittingly brandished here, there and everywhere on things that aren’t ‘goth’ whatsoever. Look hard enough, and you’ll find that it’s relatively vibrant – for example, podcasts by DJ Cruel Britannia, Bronx Elf, and Martin Oldgoth showcasing bands old, and new. There’s also a vibrant festival scene such as Whitby Goth Weekend, and Wave Gofik Trefen being two well known examples that help to spread the word of the goth music scenes.
Weathered Statues hail from Denver, and first began in 2015 from a band called Cloak of Organs that centred around fuzzy guitar tones that at times had a distinct 1990s grunge feel; reminding you of The Cranberries thrown through a patented gothic sound blender turned up to 5.2 SATB’s (Siouxsie and the Banshees units), which made for compelling listening. As fun as this cacophony sounds, there was a re-jiggering of band members which resulted in renaming themselves to Weathered Statues; changing their sound completely – to something that is distinctly New Order, Killing Joke, Siouxsie and the Banshees, and Xmal Deutschland in the best possible way.
The opening track ‘Corpse Candle’ is peak New Order, but at times pure 1980s pop that for some weird reason would remind the listener of Altered Images. Jennie Mather’s vocals are a pure delight that compliments the tune very well, that is an extremely strong ear worm with jangly guitars and that trademark post punk bass. ‘Betrayal’ has a strong Xmal Deustchland vibe to it that adds synths to the mix that feels new, but at the same time familiar – like finding that velvet jacket and winkle picker boots you owned in 1991 – rediscovered after that perilous house move due to the new H.R Manager job for Bigglesworth, Gammond, and Smythe PLC. You would think such a thing would date horrifically, but actually sounds perfectly timeless. Which is no mean feat for a music style that to some cynics has been done to death, and left in the sands of time to be forgotten.
‘Heather’ is an excellent song, that is wrought with emotion pouring through the speakers and is incredibly anthemic. The shimmering guitars of Jason Heller, Bryan Flanagan’s rumbling bass, the point perfect drumming of Andrew Warner, and Jennie’s vocals soar majestically over the top with perfect pitch and timbre raising the hair’s on one’s neck that will no doubt sound incredible in a live setting. ‘The Silver Cliff’ starts off with a rumbling punk riff reminiscent of The Dead Kennedys, continuing with a sound that wears a whole grab bag of of influences on its sleeve, but maintains an air of sonic freshness to the proceedings. The final track, ‘Holy Masquerade’ has a Siouxsie and the Banshees feel, with soaring guitars recalling vintage Killing Joke.
To conclude: Weathered Statues are a band that mixes the memories of the past without sounding like a cliché, but creative enough to have made an album with very competent musicians that know their chops well – and the vocal pipes of Jennie are a joy to behold. “Borderlands” is an album that will file next to the scene classics and certainly doesn’t embarrass itself.