ARTIST: The Raudive
RELEASE: Future Transmissions EP
RELEASE DATE: 01/04/16
RECORD COMPANY: Unknown Pleasures Records
The great echoes of Berlin-esque coldwave, tinged with swirling synth and the double snare tap of post-punk rattle through an apocalyptic portrait originally painted (through patience and precision) by hand in the crowded and smoky rooms of the underground 1980’s. These echoes bounce and transmit from the sound of Future Transmissions, an EP from Norwich, England three piece The Raudive. When listening to this EP I began to think… A substantial amount of bands in the realm of the alternative music scene tamper with the idea of melding musical genres. For example, a lot of bands feel that experimentation in the area of genre mixing is what separates them from the un-original rock bands that litter stadiums around the world… And the cherry on the top for the audience is that unsigned or semi-professional bands that wander through the underground do not create music for commercial appeal… That means simply that they are willing to experiment. So… With that in mind… How do the genre-mixers stand out from themselves? The answer is perhaps hidden within the realm of The Raudive’s sound, who have turned genre mixing into genre-layering; a force that elevates and colours their music. The layering is that of influences and sound; as all the while the band chug out a coldwave beat and atmosphere that draws the listener in… Its wallow is similar to bands like The Chameleons and the heavy sway of Goth rock bands like (Pornography era) The Cure. We, the audience, go on listening and listening, throwing around the phrase ‘it really paints a picture of a landscape or feeling…’ for so many bands and sounds around; but the coldwave of the Raudive’s swallowing and apocalyptic sound is the very definition of said phrase in a lot of places on this EP.
The EP begins with the title track, whose slow and sequenced-sounding drums patter along in the background while the drive of the howling Gothic synth (recurrent in the EP throughout) play; swimming over the top of the music. The guitars are another layer again, echoed and distant… Almost in the same realm as that of a bright pad instrument. The vocals are far away, distant and as reverbed as any other instrument on the track, they sound like a heavier take on the band Editors. The second track ‘Get to Me’ utilises the classic post-punk drum beat; the hi-hat tapping, double snare piece of genius that so many great bands have used over time and is continually utilized by bands like Sangre. This track is also as close as the band get to falling into the clichéd area of post-punk that so many alternative bands dwell… The saving grace is the lyrical content (which is prominently clever on almost every song on the EP) and the layering that The Raudive craft ever so gently; especially prevalent with synth on this track. ‘An Ending’ is a much darker (and well produced) take on a band like The Church… Lyrically it rises above again, and if the music takes the form of a forest, then the swirling dark synth acts as snow to cover and drown it in. Through their use of layering something in the song feels deeply inspired by the 80’s… And in this song, especially in the closing section, the lyrics fulfil what the listener is feeling… And convey imagery of distant lakes and of the atmosphere the band’s music exists in.
Easily the greatest track on the EP is the nostalgic and reverbed soaked drowning of ‘Euphoria Calling’ which sounds like a deeper take on a style of music conjured by Mary Goes Round. The most brilliantly composed piece of music on the entire EP, that pays equal credit to both the coldwave synth that filters itself through the music and the 80’s influenced post-punk, is the closing instrumental of ‘Euphoria Calling’. It beautifully and swiftly layers itself, staying close while wandering distant, and leaves the listener standing in a landscape similar to that of an abandoned Soviet station while snow pours from the sky. The closing songs; the SPECTRES sounding ‘Torch Song’ and ‘Motorway Hymns’ take the listener deeper into the metaphoric well as The Raudive’s coldwave synth covers the sky and the world. ‘Torch Song’ creates an atmosphere using a drum machine sound. The percussion is at its most substantial here; driving and directing the music through this landscape. The slow beat of ‘Motorway Hymns’ makes the first half of the song less interesting than the culmination at the end of the song. This very culmination is as if the band has tied together every musical idea they have crafted on the EP and tied them all together, presenting them to the audience as a definition of the groups sound.
The EP as a whole at times seems weary. The sound of each song goes further and further into a coldwave sound… Leaving its post-punk affiliations behind for a semi-shoegaze atmosphere, and for some it will seem like every song melds into one another in an unfocused manner. The production of the guitars, drums and vocals are good, but are complimented and made better and more textured thanks to the brilliant hum of the synths in all corners of the EP. The lyrics, throughout most of the EP, are well structured and compliment the music to an aloof level of distance… Complemented further by the fantastically engineered reverb so widespread on the whole EP. With this release, The Raudive have painted a clever and genre blending picture for audiences to feed on and become lost and remote within; beautifully crafted with the bands style of musical layering in both genre and sound.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Cam Phillips is a writer and above all, a music lover, who seeks to gain experience through writing and listening. He is also an avid film viewer and art and literature junkie who enjoys creative writing. His most recent published work was featured on the Australian heavy music blog, I Probably Hate Your Band.