Didn’t you know when the devil comes out
In the shape of a bottle, calling your name
He takes many forms and weighs on your doubt
It won’t be my last, I will be here to stay
The Seance are a post-punk/New Wave/gothic synth-pop duo from Ottawa, Canada. Describing themselves only as “sacred and haunted,” they choose to cloak themselves in the same spiritual enigma as their name implies – a conduit of music from another realm.
Their lyrics, as one would expect, delve into death, addiction, alcoholism, dark nights of the soul, and Jekyll & Hyde stories; all set to eerie synths, pounding basslines, and vocals teeming with gravitas.
This album deals with dark material, but their instrumental mastery becomes pure dance floor ecstasy. There are heavily arpeggiated sequences evoking Human League, John Foxx, early Duran Duran, and the odd disjointedness and switch-hitting of Matthew Dear; with the world-weariness of Nick Cave, the sociopolitical bend of The The, and the post-disco intensity of Yazoo.
The album opens with the entreating darkness of “Join the Club,” which is followed by the brilliant and brooding pulsing darkwave anthem “Lunar Effect,” which highlights The Seance’s ability to weave a vocal croon similar to Matt Johnson, and Barry Andrews of Shriekback.
“Memory Void” is an eerie and cinematic dark disco dreamscape with a spine-tingling and seductive atmosphere, which continues with the shimmering and shadowy “Illicit.”
“Sounds of Solemn” is a phantasmagoric invocation that sounds like Phil Oakey having a duet with a witch in a haunted house, while “Black Widow” spins a melody of crystalline synths and tenebrous beats, with a haunting anima animus vocal interplay.
“From Dusk Till Dawn,” an album highlight, builds up slowly to a dance-friendly marvel, evoking classic at times OMD and Depeche Mode, but augmented with classic post-punk bass and guitars. The album closes with the murmuring incantations of the title track, “Last Dance,” bookending an album that is definitely one of the most engagingndarkwave albums released this year.
A fabulous effort from this beautiful mystery.
Listen to the album below:
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