The highly anticipated full length LP from Sydney-based Death Bells, Standing At The Edge of the World, is out now from Funeral Party Records! Death Bells released a 6-song EP in April 2016, none of which are repeated on this incredible 10-song release. The album, which was completed last May, is something I’d describe as dreampop meets post-punk for a modern audience, but that’s putting it far too simply – there are plenty of surprises here.
“Days” opens the album immediately with a gloomy, yet energetic and inspiring tone. The guitar lines remind me heavily of The Cranes. They definitely skirt the line between shoegaze and traditional post-punk more than any other band I’ve experienced. I get heavy Cure vibes from “Alone, Into An Empty Clearing,” which is lyrically more depressing than the opener, but maintains an overall flowery atmosphere. “Roman Candles” touches on the more Joy Division side of the genre, namely in the bass, but it still has that heavenly, poppy Cure vibe. It really was an excellent decision to release this track early – it’s simply a beautiful post-punk masterpiece for the modern age. Which brings me to my favorite track on the album, “Only You.” Don’t you wish mainstream pop was this romantic? This is one you’ll want to dance to, if you’re into that sort of thing. I can’t help but play it on repeat – everything about it is addicting. The most mellow of the early release tracks is “Something Above,” a particularly brooding song with beautifully gray lyrics that feel fitting to fall asleep crying to.
“Beneath The Flesh” has a sound harkening back to New Order. This is my favorite song after “Only You” because of the dancey bass and guitar lines, gorgeous synths, powerful vocals, and catchy lyrics. “Nothing Changes” is relatively short, but very high energy and feels pretty damn punk compared to the other songs. I can’t get enough of this one and I think its placement is perfect on the album, it really helps show off the band’s admittedly large range. After that, “Coming Down” does literally just that – brings us back down to earth as though soothing us after a burst of energy (although the energy here is just as strong). The chorus is among the best and most catchy on the album. “Bury Your Light” takes us back to a more downtempo, melodic dreampop style. It manages to give off an inspiring atmosphere while the slow softness of it implies the sad “this album is almost over” tone.
Gratefully, the very last track, “Undertow,” leaves a big impression and wraps up the album in a way I’ve never heard before. The song starts out with having a sound similar to the rest of the album’s inspiring shoegazey post-punk, but ends around the 2:30 mark, when outdoor sounds like wind and birds can be heard. Did we just hit the edge of the world? About a minute of heavy anticipation later, a new, more electronic song emerges. It definitely veers off from the other songs, but it certainly doesn’t falter on romanticism (my favorite line is “If the whole world stopped it would only stop for you”).
Standing At The Edge Of The World has me completely blown away. I’m surprised these guys aren’t ten times as big as they are. Order the album now! Only 250 copies of the 12″ vinyls are being shipped on September 30th.