The contemporary classic darkwave band Night Sins, haling from Philadelphia, have finally released their third LP and first on Funeral Party Records, Dancing Chrome. This is their first album release since 2013’s To London Or The Lake, and I’ve gotta say, I absolutely love the direction Kyle Kimball has taken his work. Dancing Chrome‘s overall sound is similar to TLOTL, but the vocals are deeper, synths are more crisp, and the overall sound is more intense. They’ve also completely expanded on their interlude tracks (“Rain” was the only one on TLOTL, Dancing Chrome has three) and have evolved them to a noisier, slightly more industrial sound. It makes for an excitingly unique, ever-changing experience of an album.
The album opens with the fast, dark, and dance-y “Crystal Blue.” It reminds me of a more electronic Sisters of Mercy (or even The Mission) with some Skinny Puppy tones, but it’s more complex than that, utilizing sophisticated postpunk guitar and bass. I absolutely love the effect on the vocals; everything sounds “crystal” clear (oh god, I’m sorry) compared to their previous LPs. Dancing Chrome is darker and a bit slower than the first track, reveling in dreary gothic tones that melt over you. Offsetting this are fun, colorful, and somewhat experimental synths, giving it a modern Clan of Xymox feel. It’s easily my favorite song on the album – can’t wait to dance to this at Lovecraft Bar!
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From here, the album switches tone from electronic goth rock to more of a postpunk influence with “Enamored And Nailed Shut.” This is admittedly another strong favorite of mine due to the beautiful postpunk guitar lines, notably in the chorus, but also in a fun solo 3/4 of the way through. Despite being guitar-focused, the track is still very danceable with synths wavering between ethereal and bold. “(Schizoid Ice),” true to its title, completely offsets the previous track. It feels like ominous video game music played on an old fuzzed out box television. Personally, I think this makes for an amazing edition to any noise playlist, although it’s still on the synthy melodic side.
“Daisy Chain” rides this pattern of mood shifting right along by jolting back into lighthearted synthpop. The deep vocals accompanied with the fun synths makes it feel genuinely 80s; they sound similar to Portland band The Secret Light here for this reason. This is another one I’d love to hear at dance nights, it’s heavily synth based and fun. “Spire And Ecstasy” feels like an instant classic. This one is more vocal-centric, focusing on Kyle Kimball’s deliciously dark voice which seems to personify a gritty sexiness over the fast, almost happy feeling the rest of the song gives off. “(Half In, Half Out)” is another interlude devoid of vocals, further perpetuating the dark vibe of the album. This one sounds less like a video game and more like something very real and sinister; there’s also a waterfall of pixelated noise in the background. The song cuts off abruptly.
“Heaven’s Eyes” is probably the most sentimental song on Dancing Chrome. There’s a light yet haunting harmonization going on with a more upbeat guitar. It has elements that somewhat remind me of Echo and the Bunnymen. It ends on a beautifully atmospheric note. As you might have guessed, the mood completely changes for the last track. “(Austrian Bracelet)” is almost like a culmination between the other interlude tracks and the rest of the album. There are heavy static overlays, minimal vocalization, darkwave guitar every so often, and a feeling of uneasiness. The power electronics slowly fade to silence.