There’s a sense of death when one of your favourite bands decides to call it a day. That’s what I felt when heavily underrated emo band The Sleeping split up, but it was somewhat eased by vocalist Douglas Robinson’s inclusion into Night Verses and the release of their quite frankly brilliant debut EP, Out of the Sky. This was followed up by the band’s debut LP, Lift Your Existence, an album with occasional touches of brilliance, it turned out to be a bit of a turgid affair, with each of its fifteen tracks overstaying their welcome. New album Into the Vanishing Light is a chance at redemption, a showcase for the band that, a few years ago, seemed brimming with potential.
While not completely redeemed, there are plenty of standout moments; Opening track ‘The Future As History: I Love You Dead’ moves between an audio assault of aggression and experimentation with electronic influences, constantly keeping you guessing and never really knowing where the song is heading sonically. Lead single ‘A Dialogue in Cataplexy’ may be an almost stereotypical Night Verses sound now, with a feel of “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it”. Off kilter and discordant verses are completed by radio friendly chorus’ and an almost jazz like bridge (before the almost song ruining guitar solo) showcasing the bands ability as musicians and song writers.
‘Ventablack’ has a specific nod towards the Disintegration era of The Cure, while ‘Blue Shades of the Sun’ has the kind of musical introduction Dillinger Escape Plan would have been proud to have written. Then there’s ‘Strange Graves’, a track so beautifully eerie it wouldn’t feel out of place if it were used in a scene of Twin Peaks.
There’s an eclectic element to Into The Vanishing Light that was perhaps missing from Lift Your Existence. At times that addition of doomy, ambient elements as well as slower tempo tracks work well for the band. However, on occasions this shows the bands weaknesses. Tracks like ‘Drift’ show Robinson’s vocals in a disappointing light, drawing attention to his lacking of natural singling ability. As well, his performance on ‘Faceless Youth’ feels disjointed, while ‘Growing Out of Orbit’ just doesn’t work on any level, musically or vocally, and perhaps shouldn’t have been included on the record.
Night Verses have always felt like a Jekyll and Hyde band and Into The Vanishing Light is no different. The most frustrating points of this album very much align with the reasons why I’ve been frustrated by the band up-to-date. This is a group of clearly talented musicians but, at times on Into The Vanishing Light, there’s the feeling that the music isn’t being allowed to breathe. However, rather than being disappointed with this record I am more inclined to be enamoured with it. This isn’t a perfect album from a band who are on the cusp of spearheading the experimental rock scene, it’s an album from a band who’ve maintained their promise of finally putting out a full length album that is worthy of your time. If the band continue on this trajectory they’ll be headed for big things.
Into The Vanishing Light is out on Friday, July 8th via Equal Vision Records.