Wednesday 19 March 2014

Spiralling Down Into Theremin-Fuelled Night Terrors

The Night Terrors are an interesting band in that they manage to straddle the boundaries of tension, murky darkness, and garish monochrome lushness at the flick of a hand at a Theremin antenna. Miles Brown’s infatuation with the much-maligned instrument has gleaned some otherworldly and exciting results, none moreso than the band’s latest opus Spiral Vortex. It goes without saying that a band with a Theremin in it is going to be lumbered with horror score tropes – in fact this is heightened by the vintage synth that permeates each track. But this is never a bad thing, especially when you have such an intense skinsman as Damien Coward (Heirs) propelling things inexorably forward. It also makes sense why Spencer Hickman from famed horror soundtrack enthusiasts Death Waltz Records would be such a fervent fan.

I personally think Spiral Vortex is brilliant. It is the kind of late night spiral (it can’t be helped) into the black hole of feverish lament and Giallo deconstruction (and dismemberment). And the spectral cinematics are evidently something the band revels in – titles like ‘Lasers For Eyes’, ‘Monster’ and especially ‘The Devil Played Backwards’ serves to drive this heavy theme home. Brown’s utterly jaw dropping control of the Theremin notwithstanding, though, Spiral Vortex belongs to the synthesiser and its Master Controllers, Brown and Sarah Lim. There are artists out there on labels such as Not Not Fun or Dark Entries that take these sounds to dark and sensuous places, but never have I revelled in the deliciousness that borderline macabre cheese can bring. 70s/80s expressionism is subliminally evoked in every lush line that flows forth – Prince Of Darkness, Lifeforce, Phantasm, Suspiria, all of these movies that are schizophrenic and ridiculous and yet so seductive in their lurid imagery and use of colour. Spiral Vortex easily encompasses these elements – and at times easily surpasses them.

Spiral Vortex is out now through Homeless Records – grab it here.

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