There's always something thrilling about listening to a debut album - the mystery and suspense of delving into the unknown. There's nothing more fantastic than discovering unheard music and adding a new artist to your favourite playlist - something with that that je ne sais quois which engages your ears, yet with its own unique perspective. Mass Gothic's self-titled LP does precisely that - twisting, turning and changing with every track.
The project is that of Hooray For Earth's lead singer Noel Heroux. Despite the name Mass Gothic, you shouldn't be fooled into making assumptions over the genre of music; if anything, this work does its best to avoid being placed into a niche. There's a smattering of electronica, a drizzling of pop, a handful of rock and just a sprinkle of heavy metal. Sounds aside, the overall effect is something mesmerising, even hypnotising, through a heavy degree of lyrical repetition - but never does it disturb the listening experience.
'Mind Is Probably' is the perfect opening track for such an enigma of an album. Beginning with a subtle and understated chant - reflective and almost religious - the song slowly grows into a whirlwind of sound as guitars, drums and synths swirl and grow into a fully-fledged indie rock tune.
'EVERY NIGHT YOU'VE GOT TO SAVE ME' - MASS GOTHIC
In complete contrast, 'Want To, Bad' explodes instantaneously with sinister, drastic notes. This tune provides such a sense of urgency - almost panic - it's hard not to get swept up as you feel your pulse escalate. Further in, 'Nice Night' picks up a grungier edge, with a crunchy bass guitar grinding along as Heroux relays lyrics laden with experiences of depression before the tune metamorphosises into something altogether heavier.
For me, the album highlight is 'Every Night You've Got To Save Me', which you unexpectedly stumble across halfway through the album. The songs is an odd yet catchy brand of forceful pop. On the surface it's reminiscent of the sounds of the 50s - almost instantly you'll find yourself bopping along - but there's something much darker bubbling beneath the surface, a desperation. There's some really interesting production choices on this track too; the prominent harmonies from Heroux's partner, Jessica Zambri, is a nice touch. Particularly with regards to the drums, it's one of the more raw tracks on a largely polished album, which makes it all the more endearing.
The power of any album in an era where a three-minute radio track reigns supreme is its listenability - the capacity to enjoy the LP from start to finish with unwavering enjoyment. 'Mass Gothic' achieves this vehemently, by dabbling in genres and not pigeon-holing itself into one sound, whilst still managing to remain cohesive. Listening to this album is a thoroughly refreshing experience, and with so much to take in, one sound or another is certain to engage your ears.
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