Life's Decay

Abstraktsens Produktions, 2009


REVIEW BY: Vish Iyer


Paris-based Life’s Decay will zealously embrace the tag “Gothic roc” to describe their music. Life’s Decay satisfies all the classic elements of this once faddish genre with their brooding songs and somber imagery. Consistently for all of their records, the group’s artwork (created by one half of the band, multi-instrumentalist Lyktwasst) has comprised black-and-white sketches, which have an unmistakably film noir appeal and are a huge part of the band’s appeal. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Formed in 2003, Life’s Decay has been prolific, and Dysrieuses is their eighth full-length release. The music on Dysrieuses bears resemblance to classic Gothic New Wave acts like Siouxsie And The Banshees and the more recent Cranes, definitely due to their darkly quirky music, but mainly because of singer Alea’s vocals, which aren’t as far-out as those of Siouxsie Sioux or Alison Shaw, but are eerily haunting nonetheless, made more mysterious by the band’s language of expression: French.

Life’s Decay’s music does not have the familiar sounds of the guitars, keys, and drums of a regular rock band, nor do their songs follow conventional patterns. The mechanical rhythms of the drums (almost entirely acoustic) beat like machines, and the myriad instruments that the band uses beget an amorphous ambience, in which the elements cannot be pulled apart from each other and the whole needs to be taken in as one.

Considering how cloaked and experimental the music sounds, Life’s Decay actually uses a long list of mostly organic and exotic (by rock music standards) instruments, which they use brilliantly and without a modicum of labor to create an intricacy of interesting sounds. Most notable are the screeching and squeaking of the cellos and the violins amid the backdrop of the driving, industrial rhythm of the drums, creating a dark world filled not with horror but with meditative beauty.

Even though Life’s Decay takes their Gothic image seriously, their music is as much about constructing strangely beautiful realms as it is about being simply gloomy. The band challenges itself in terms of their music; however, they never attempt to be over-the-top or ultra-morose just for the sake of fulfilling their image.

Rating: B+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



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