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Listen to Philadelphia Outfit Goth Goth’s “Degradation Pink” LP

Emerging from a blend of darkness and glow sticks, Philly’s Goth Goth stitches together the sounds of The Cure, Bauhaus, The Clash, Television, and Blondie to forge a potent post-punk patchwork. With chime-like guitars, a heart-thumping bass, and groovy drums, they’re led by a frontman whose stage presence is as magnetic as it is moody. Known for electrifying live shows that leave the audience abuzz, Goth Goth serves a heaping helping of nostalgia with a 21st century twist.

Their new LP, Degradation Pink, brings a fresh twist to the music scene, blending modulated guitar riffs, solid bass lines, dance-inducing drums, and electrifying guitar solos. The album delves into themes of love, relationships, and disillusionment, showcasing a dynamic range of vocal performances in both English and Spanish.

Degradation Pink kicks off with the haunting track No Rave, featuring jangly guitars and compelling hooks that echo the sounds of The Gun Club, Southern Death Cult, and Lords of the New Church. Its lyrics paint a picture of unity and importance, casting the speakers as pivotal and selected figures of their time. The song gravitates towards the seriousness of their message, steering clear of any frivolous or party-like themes. Throughout, there’s a subtle yet palpable theme of obedience and control.

The album’s title track blends elements reminiscent of Interpol and The Damned, marked by a dramatic mid-song breakdown. The lyrics delve into a profound longing for intense, perhaps even painful, experiences as a conduit to feeling truly alive and authentic. They vividly portray a quest for both physical and emotional depth, hinting at non-traditional or BDSM-esque interactions, as a means to break free from feelings of unreality. Central themes of submission, intense desire, and personal transformation through pain underscore a search for genuine self-discovery.

The third song, Rain On Drexel Hill, is an elegantly simple memory fragment – and one hopes that SEPTA comes to fetch this soaking soul soon.

Master depicts a relationship centered on power dynamics and control. The submissive, likening themselves to a ‘lost dog,’ acknowledges the dom’s enjoyment in leading and using intimacy as a form of control. The song conveys themes of desire, BDSM, and the complexity of shame and pleasure within this dynamic.

The yearning Blooms takes a detour to a world similar to that of Liz Phair’s Exile in Guyville. Blooms unfolds as a nuanced emotional struggle, weaving through themes of vulnerability and self-doubt. With a female lead on this track, it wryly captures the transformation and emergence of femininity in the glow of love…but juxtaposed against feelings of unattractiveness and unworthiness. The narrative oscillates between dreamlike bliss and stark reality, intertwining tender memories with undercurrents of violence and loss. Central to its essence is the exploration of a profound, yet turbulent emotional bond, underscored by an underlying fear of being unlovable.

Next comes the cinematic Silence of The Killer, which takes a stab at hidden dangers lurking beneath a façade of normalcy. There’s a sense of ongoing, unnoticed decay and the futility of trying to revive what’s already lost. The song also hints at an insatiable, malevolent force, threatening not just the individual but their loved ones. Sometimes maintaining appearances can be lifesaving in this nightmarish existence.

Duerme Mi Querida, sung in Spanish, paints a vivid picture of a love story tinged with distance and yearning. It captures the essence of one partner’s hesitation to reach out, shadowed by the fear of being a nuisance. The song beautifully illustrates a routine steeped in tenderness: waking up to the other’s late return, sealed with a soft kiss. Amidst this backdrop, it highlights a deep-seated trust and honesty that binds them, despite the challenges posed by their conflicting schedules—one living by the moon’s cycle, the other by the sun’s. Yet, in those brief, shared moments at dawn, their connection reignites. Throughout the chorus, a heartfelt reaffirmation of trust, enduring love, and the resilience of their relationship echoes, underlining the song’s emotive core.

Channeling later Modest Mouse, SPECTRES, and Franz Ferdinand, LBP (Low Budget Porno) expresses a strong message of resistance and defiance against oppressive systems. They encourage fighting back against manipulation and deceit, urging the listener to break free from the control and lies imposed by others. The song portrays a struggle to preserve one’s authentic self and desires in a world that undervalues and undermines individuality, likening it to being trapped in a low-quality, exploitative situation.

Next, sounding like a lost Kinks-meets-The Smiths track, Cult Singer examines a dicey relationship with a deceptively perfect individual. The intertwining of morals, ideals, and physical attraction are all shrouded in a fading façade; reflecting upon the dual roles of victim and villain in both partners, driven by blind emotion and misguided intentions. Do you choose stability or entrapment in a beautiful illusion?

The album closes with the gentle Spanish of Euphoria, another ballad of entrapment and alienation. The speaker feels engulfed in pain and unable to find an escape, likening themselves to a ghost wandering through their dreams. They feel consumed from within, as if their existence is only validated through others’ perceptions. The body feels alien, expected to be given away to anyone who desires it. The absence of joy or euphoria is starkly noted, highlighting a profound sense of despair and emptiness.

“Degradation Pink” was produced by Philly compadres Vince Duong (Doused) and Niko Berardo (Te Vista) and mastered by Alex Santilli at Spice House Sound in Philadelphia.

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Alice Teeple

Alice Teeple is a photographer, multidisciplinary artist, and writer. She is not in Tin Machine.

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