Album Review : Curioser & Curioser - Alice Moving Under Skies 7*
For Fans Of : The Mission, Sisters Of Mercy, Fields Of The Nephilim
I hate those 80's albums that keep getting churned out, "Best of the 80's", "Ultimate 80's", happy cheesy pop that makes me sick. My 80's were spent wearing black eye liner, a spiked wristband and some strappy leather bondage trousers as some weird glam rock - goth - punk - metal crossover kid. I wasn't happily dancing to Wham or Culture Club, I was moshing to Metallica or shoe gazing to The Mission or Siouxsie.
AMUS then are a brilliantly retro sounding throwback to everything that was dark and awesome about the 80's counter-culture. The wheel always turns, classic rock is as big now as it ever was, and goth culture both here and across the pond has a strong a passionate following.
Mark Dreizhen and Penny Dreadful both share vocal duties throughout the album, Mark has a touch of Justin Sullivan about his singing, and that's no bad thing, Penny pitches somewhere towards Siouxsie with a hint of either Melissa Auf De Mar or Juliette Lewis or both. Whether she is doing the subdued vocals of the debut single Grit Girl or the more in your face vocals on Sweet Little 666teen her voice is more attention demanding than current goth (darkwave / crimsonwave etc) contemporaries like Zola Jesus.
The album is electro goth with rocked up guitars in a style similar to The Mission / Sisters of Mercy. Mark and Penny are the whole band, Mark playing guitar, synth and the drum machine, Penny playing bass and keyboards. C&C is greatly enjoyable in the inverted manner that goths love where everything that should be bright and pleasant becomes gloomy and worrying. C&C displays some nice changes in pace and tempo, from the grinding Numanesque sound of Grit Girl, through to the more typically goth (and a song title I bet Marilyn Manson wishes he thought up) Sweet Little 666teen. AMUS move into less typical goth territory by covering Steeleye Span's Fighting for Stangers, goth folk, it could be a whole new micro genre.
If I have a problem with the album, and it's the reason I've given it 7* rather than slightly higher it is that I think the overall sound is slightly thin. All the elements are there, but it could have been mixed a little better to provide a richer and fuller sound. Don't let this minor fault stop you from buying the album though if goth is your thing, this is a good debut album from a duo who are obviously well schooled in the genre.
AMUS describe themselves as making "exciting noise designed to fill dance floors" and I would agree with that, I could see myself happily dancing along to this electro goth debut.
You can buy the album direct from the AMUS website