Early Black Life: Love :: Love:Murder (Self-Released) 

Forget Interpol. Tucson's Early Black lets loose a sonic flood of darkly epic and soul-crushing gothic shoegaze that will leave you cowering at the foot of your mama's bed, begging for her to hold you tight and keep you safe from the big, bad world—or at least from the desperate sphere delineated by the 10 songs collected in this powerful debut.

Equal parts Joy Division and Nowhere-era Ride, this simple three-piece generates enough cataclysmic volume to drown out druggy-rawk bands twice its size. From the majestic, reverb-drenched, single-note guitar refrain of "No One Cares" to the corrosive, cavernous power chords of "Melting Face," Early Black never backs down, pushing each pop construction to its red-needle breaking point. The lyrics are bleakly magnificent, too, especially in the withering "Idealist," in which frontman Walter Gonçalves cheekily laments the fact that "there's no hope for medication."

Recorded at Tucson's Loveland Studio, Life:Love :: Love:Murder sounds textured, especially on "Apocalypse Close to Home," in which it's understood "life goes on / when you don't carry on."

Early Black hearkens back to an earlier time in post-punk music, when bands didn't shoehorn themselves into specific subgenres like electronic, shoegaze, and goth. If you like any or all of these, you will find much to admire about this CD. Paint your fingernails black and spin the hell out of this one.

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