Monday, November 2, 2009

Warm Brother

I've seen Digital Leather live before and not been blown away, but that was, like, two years ago. Now I have a full-length record from them classing up my iTunes and I'm pretty pleased with it. It would appear that the title Warm Brother is WWII Nazi slang for being gay. This is interesting because the album bears the melodic markings of Joy Division, who were also named, like this album, for a piece of Nazi street arcana.

Digital Leather comes off here like a version of New Order or Joy Division or some similarly un-American post punk outfit, as perpetrated by a pack of greasers from the U.S. If there's something I'm more in the mood for than that right now I'll have to think of it after I've had more coffee.

The greaser part comes in where they imbue the synthesizer and electronic noise with the same nasty grit as the guitars. It always does my heart good to see production skills used for good instead of evil. Sometimes, like on "Homesick for Terror," they get into darkwave/industrial territory with shades of Suicide's least musical moments. Then a little acoustic strumming and whistling here and there adds a light patina of intrigue.

Such digressions keep Warm Brother interesting but without them you would still have a solid chunk of pretty, messy, elegiac dance pop worthy of the Psychedelic Furs' contribution to the Pretty in Pink soundtrack."Kissing," for instance, makes me want to do the Molly Ringwald while dressed as Ally Sheedy's character in The Breakfast Club. Like Sheedy's character, the seeming innocence of the melodies is belied by harsh beats and all that black gunk piled on top. To that end I may make a mix with these guys, Blank Dogs, Jay Reatard and Lost Sounds. I'll kick it off with track seven, "Bugs on Glue." That's a manic jam.

With the synth, it's all a bit Lost Sounds-ish too, so it's not surprising Jay Reatard has taken them under his oily black wing. Lord help them.

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