Fear Cult Visionary Complex

There’s nothing quite like old school goth; the driving minor chord bass lines, the gritty, crunchy guitars, those beautifully big locks of blackened mane teased up with such care — it really is my soft spot. This bunch keeps the decadent spirit of goth alive while the rest of us just get too old to bother with the hairspray and black lipstick anymore. They’re from Hollywood, so over-the-top aesthetics should come naturally. But never mind their appearance, these kids got the music all right here, and this is only their debut. Their sound is early goth, straight outta the Batcave. It has all the makings of the spooky, post-punk material, the proto-goth acts, if you will. Matt Riser’s animated vocals call to mind the oddly appealing Specimen. He delivers them in a speaking manner like some deranged school teacher as he sings about jaded love and other popular topics for the morbidly inclined. Taking the sound from 1983 to 2003 are all manners of creepy effects and electronics, and the songs are contagious and danceable, but the retro sounding brazen minimalism of "She Loves Me Not” is where their hearts lie. A version of Gun Club’s "Sex Beat” is decent, but stealing the show is their nod to Canadian synth pop with the "Safety Dance” cover. They’ll noo doot get a few Canuck fans with this one. This is a perfect record to bring in the fall and get you in that holiday spirit as Halloween creeps closer and closer. (Cleopatra)