Written by: Dave Cantrell
Never underestimate darkwave’s allure. Like a sudden tidal force arriving at the stroke of midnight, it can pull you in unawares and you’ll find yourself in its beguiling clutches before you even have a chance to call out to your friends and accomplices now falling away into the distance out there on the indie and/or EDM fringes. There’s no use looking back and anyway the tentacles in which you find yourself are a bit too seductive to resist. Why fight it if it fits? Just ask Slade Templeton.
While having found thriving success as a producer in the flashy arenas of the dance world, the Kansas-born, Switzerland-living Templeton felt himself being drawn toward the shadows, forming what at the time was a side project in 2009. As would be expected, the pulse and throb of the scene that had been his home for near on a decade migrated with him into Crying Vessel, the result being, on efforts like 2011’s Necrozine (featuring appearances from Dean Garcia and Bloody Knives’ Preston Maddox among others), the achingly personal Selfless from 2013, and the more recent Everything Becomes Nothing (2015), sparser but somehow more intimate in its dystopian pop-tronica contours (which isn’t even to mention the many EPs), albums that limned the border between lonely synthscapes and a kind of close-in, urban exotica. Pure-on post-punk, at that point, couldn’t be far behind, and indeed here we are.
Released – when else? – on Friday, the 13th of October, A Beautiful Curse (Manic Depression) strips back any prior inhibitions and comes out with a certain pounding utterness, as if Templeton and his co-conspirator Basil (AKA Bacillus Anthracis) have suddenly realized time’s short (and there are so many ways to interpret that) and they had better lay down their cards as if their musical lives depended upon it. We’ve heard the record entire and it’s something in the neighborhood of a haunted banger. We expect it’ll make a number of year-end lists but that doesn’t really matter, as what matters is the present, something Crying Vessel, via this new record, have truly sussed. As if to emphasize that point, we offer you an exclusive sneak listen to the as-yet unaired (anywhere) “Empty Glass,” a track that intriguingly suggests that prime Ultravox never aged but instead took a page from D.Mode’s darker pop tropes and declared themselves immortal, an assertion that’s tricky to refute given the icy warmth of “Empty Glass”‘s timeless surge and restraint. 2017 has finally arrived.