Post-punk has had a massively broad influence over just about every genre that developed in the aftermath of its early 80s heyday. However, there don’t seem to be many bands specifically emulating that style. I’m sure there’s a whole wave of Bauhaus clones still lamenting Bela Lugosi’s death in some isolated goth club, but it doesn’t seem to be the most prominent movement out there. Whether they are one of the few or the latest in a legion, Denver’s Weathered Statues provides a nifty modern update on their full-length debut.
Fans of groups like Joy Division and The Cure will hear plenty of familiar elements throughout Borderlands. The former’s influence is especially loud and clear through the hazy guitar sheen, the omnipresent driving bass gurgles, and mechanical drum sound. Having a female lead singer is also noteworthy; she nails the apathetic vibe exhibited by Ian Curtis and the like but understandably doesn’t aim to match that deep timbre. Instead, her voice recalls an American version of The Cranberries’ recently departed Dolores O’Riordan, most blatantly on the closing vocalizations on “The Silver Cuff.”
The band also goes out of its way to highlight the various tempos associated with post-punk, going as far as to group similar songs together over the course of the album. Songs like “Corpse Candle” and “Betrayal” start things off upbeat, “Hypnagogia” and its surrounding tracks fill out the middle with mid-tempo abstractions and occasional tribal lapses, and the earworms of “The Widow Sunday” and the closing “Holy Masquerade” make the last set of songs among the catchiest. The style fluctuations are subtle enough as to not draw too much attention, and if you do notice, the consistent writing makes it hard to get that worked up over it.
It’s rare to hear post-punk be played so straight nowadays, but Weathered Statues has the talent to be more than a novelty act on Borderlands. While the album may be a truly iconic anthem away from reaching the masters’ level, the production’s ability to vividly convey such a distinct style and the musicians’ ability to deliver on this promise is really something to behold. If you ever find yourself missing the Batcave, this is essential listening.
“The Widow Sunday”