BIRTHMARKS: …And Then The Rain Stopped.

19 03 2020

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I always thought I’d find it difficult to write about friends I have in bands, but it turns out it’s pretty easy- especially when you love and believe in what they do. Little Death Machine were a band that I absolutely adored and couldn’t get enough of. That band ended, and from it Daniel formed Birthmarks with his pals- Jason and Jonno. As I listen to their debut full length record, I can hear parts of LDM but also a sound of bands/singers I love. It’s a brilliant record, and the fact that Kerrang Magazine have written about them is also a huge deal. Again, another thing to be proud of.

…And Then The Rain Stopped is out next Friday, and with all this painful doom and gloom surrounding us right now, for me, I’m finding comfort in music more than ever. The record starts with How Do You Rule Me which gives me feelings of Bjork (Army Of Me flows right through this) early Placebo and hints of Nine Inch Nails. Basically, this song and the whole damn record sounds like heaven. Daniel’s voice has never sounded so good and so powerful, and when you marry this up with Jason’s drumming and Jonno’s bass playing; you just get something that feeds your soul and beautifully consumes every part of you.

The lyrics will get you right in the gut, and if the song Breathe doesn’t move you then I really don’t know what will. The record is full of songs that will break your heart, but you won’t mind because it will also give you comfort. That’s all you can ask for. If something breaks you, chances are it can comfort you also. The vocals are as raw and as exposed as the lyrics, and because you can truly hear the honesty and feel every single emotion on the songs- you cannot help but connect with them. There’s something so haunting about the whole record, and the darkness on this record really does get you right in the gut. For some it may be uncomfortable but for others, it’s a lifeline. The record is a work of art. I knew it was going to be something truly remarkable, but it goes above and beyond what I or anyone else could ever write about this record.

 

 

The songs touch on everything from love to loss, and all that goes with it.  Daniel’s mentioned that this record took 5 years to make, and you can absolutely hear the hardwork and dedication from them all on this record. I’m obsessed with the drums on this record, and how they heighten the emotions on this record. You have songs like Wax which is such a stripped back and vulnerable song, and it is one of the more tender moments on the record. Again, you can hear the raw emotion in the vocals on this but then it goes right into You Are One which could very well be the anthem for the band. You can imagine the crowd going nuts to this at their shows, it’s got such a grand feel to it and you cannot help but get immersed in it. The way the synths and guitar go together on this is just fantastic, and the way the guitar and drums get heavy at the same time just blows your mind. This one really homes in on the feeling of loss and a sense of betrayal, and it’s a brutal listen but it’s just another reason as to why you cannot help but love this band, and this record.

As far as debut records go, it’s fair to say that this is nothing short of incredible. The production is flawless, and the way the songs sound is just remarkable. It’s hard to believe that this is their debut full length record, and like I mentioned, you can really hear the hardwork in this record. Charcoal is a fierce song, it sounds like it should be in some disturbing thriller, and to be honest I really do see Birthmarks creating the soundtracks for films. This whole record sounds like it was made for a film; it’s a very theatrical record, and the atmosphere on the record will just send shivers right through you. It’s a very dark record, and I love how brutal some of the lyrics are and how fucking honest they are. Charcoal is like a cut to the soul, but you keep digging at it. The record is like an open wound that you cannot help but mess with. It’ll disturb you, you’ll wince, and it will be the best thing you’ve ever heard. I adore this record, and I just respect anyone who is this honest with their art.

The record touches so beautifully on human nature and how we fuck up, how others fuck us up and how it can be a vicious cycle at times. I love how experimental the record is, and how it doesn’t fall into any genre or any sub-genre. It feels like a film, a work of art. If this is what we get from a debut record, then there’s no telling what else they can do. It’s obvious it’s going to be mind-blowing, but I’m just massively in awe of this record and how they’ve all played their part in creating this gorgeous record. Pale and Midnight Blue are prime examples of how talented the band are, and I love that every song on this record gives them all their own moments to shine.

 

 

…And Then The Rain Stopped is mixture of every human emotion possible, it is the beauty of carrying feelings and it is the burden of being a human in one. It is a complex listen, and I can only advise that you listen to this record the first time round on your own, and in order. Just soak up the record. Once you’ve done this, listen however you want. We’re all looking for comfort and the like in isolation, and this record is everything we could possibly need and more. Birthmarks have made the record that makes me want to write about it constantly. Bands like this are why I write about music, and why I refuse to ever do this for money. It has to be for the love of it, and I will only ever write about what I love. Birthmarks have truly made something special here, and I sincerely hope that anyone who listens to this record feels the same because it NEEDS to be heard.

Allow yourself to feel vulnerable, and just open your mind up to this record. It’ll be alright.

Pre-order the record here and you’ll also find their cover of one of the most beautiful songs ever written, True Love Will Find You In The End by Daniel Johnston.





TEEN CREEPS: Birthmarks

18 04 2018

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There are some excellent things to have come from Belgium, and Teen Creeps are most certainly up there as being one of the greats. Their snarling Garage Rock sound is nothing short of addictive, and I’m going to use the last 20 minutes of my dinner break to tell you why.

Birthmarks is their latest release, and I’m fairly sure it is their first full length record. It consists of 9 songs that have been created to just melt your brain and make you do things others would question. There’s nothing wrong with that at all. The record opens with the brilliant, Sidenote which consists of the gnarling roar of “I wanna be the last thing on your mind.” A simple but massively effective lyric that is perfect on the opening of the record. It is like a ritualistic call to come listen and invest in this record. Birthmarks have an effortlessly obscure sound that may remind some listeners (musically, not vocally) or early Placebo. There is something about the guitars that hurls you way back to hearing Placebo for the first time. Again, this is by no means a bad thing. For someone like me, it’s bloody great.

 

Teen Creeps are an exceptional band, and to finally have a record that really shows us what they are made of and how powerful they are is super cool. How I feel about them is how I feel about Küken. I’ve written about them loads because their take on Garage Rock and Punk is mind-blowing. Teen Creeps in some way are a little tamer, but lyrically Teen Creeps have this real urgency and rawness to their words. They are sung as if their lives depend on it, and when a band can do that it makes you really cling on harder to what you hear.

The record has been out for nearly two weeks now, and I can confidently tell you that it is one of the most brutal and loud records you’ll hear all year. It’s got everything you’d want from a proper angsty record. The loudness is so powerful, and it really does grip you. It’s like a loving chokehold (I have no idea if such thing exists, but let’s pretend it does for argument’s sake!)

Mercury is one of their softer songs, and I use that word as loosely as I possibly can. It is one of the quieter moments on the record, but it does pick up perfectly. Then it leads effortlessly timed into Will which is one of my favourites on the record. But, as usual, I will change my mind after my next listen. I’ve mainly listened to this record solidly the past few days to really get a feel for the record. It is a record that you connect with. Maybe it’s because you’ve got some rage to get out, or maybe you just love hearing something so wonderfully loud.

Good Intensions is over 5 minutes of pure bliss. I guess we’re all feeling better now the sun has made a guest appearance, and this is the perfect song to gaze off into the sunset too. It’s got something really special, and (stay with me on this) romantic feel to it. It reminds me of the early Shoegaze sound found in bands like Lush and Slowdive. It’s a beautifully crafted song. I think it’s probably now my joint favourite. I told you I’d change my mind! But I won’t change my mind on this being one of the most exciting records I’ve heard so far.

Teen Creeps are touring the record close to home and in Holland, so maybe treat yourself to a weekend away or a well-earned holiday to see this excellent three-piece band from Ghent.

Birthmarks is out now on PIAS Belgium. You can buy the record from any decent record store, kids! And if they don’t have it, make them order you a copy right now!

Play loud. Play often and let this fantastic debut record blow your mind.