Some of our favorite releases to review are those that come with a lot of mystery; with the band, the release or better yet, both! Such is the case here with the Ohio project Absinthe Vows and their ‘Sunlight Stabs’ digital LP. Not having this context is both good and bad but good in terms of churning out a review free of such context. It allows more of the imagination to grasp the release.
So we have this 10 track digital album. It’s really impossible to put this band in a box. It almost sounds like a supergroup created by Simon Gallop from The Cure on bass, a subdued Marilyn Manson on vocals and whoever is playing drums this month for The Sisters Of Mercy. So you place all of these together and have ‘Sunlight Shards’.
I think that this album deserves to be more than just a free download on bandcamp. There’s certainly some value here to be had and the band deserves the support.
Musically, Absinthe Vows presents their own mix of darkwave, alternative, rock, metal, electro and then some. What works the most about this album is the fact that in spite of lack of context and the unique mixture of sounds, the album works really well as a package, like it’s own chapter. Sure there’s enough diversity in the songs to tell one from the other. But they all FEEL like they should be a part of this album, that they belong together.
I think stylistically this album would appeal to fans of The Cure, Sisters of Mercy and a bunch of other bands, but I get the impression that this album is just one part of their story…. that there is much more to be said. The one thing that suffers from the lack of information is if fans want to know more about the band or follow them on socials. I feel like if Absinthe Vows stats building a social media world utilizing video across platforms, an album like this would surely reach a mass audience.
Favorite tracks certainly are “Dead Limus” and “The Great Rite” which has a great vocal execution against a early Cure-like backdrop. There’s some pretty killer guitar tone too. It should also be stated that the mix is done very very well so it’s an easy and engaging listen. “Dead Limus’ has a super creepy vibe where the vocals are allowed to take over for part of the song keeping the other instruments a little more subdued than in other tracks. Then about two minutes into it, there’s a really wicked buildup that kind of reminds me a bit of late 80s darkwave and the slight vocal effect change during the build-up increases the effectiveness of the track.
There’s a range of styles in this release which merge and allow Absinthe Vows to define their own. I would simply encourage them, not necessarily to just expand sonically but in their world in general. I would LOVE to see what the band does next using social media to their advantage and also with more video content. This album presents a really solid realm but in and of itself it’s small. There’s a lot of promise and value here. I’m confident Absinthe Vows can do brilliant things if they continue to grow their world… their content in style and frequency and do a lot of follower engagement. There’s serious potential here.
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