In recent years, Philadelphia, PA has become a punk factory, chugging a bevy of noted punk acts. Philly locals like, Hop Along, The Mezingers and Cayetana, are all on the cusp of breaking out, prompting blogs like Noisey to declare the City of Brother Love as the “best punk scene in the country.”
Dubbing a much quieter mode of punk, Blood Sound encapsulates nostalgia, recreating the moody post-punk melodies that were ubiquitous in the early 80’s. Straight up, its obvious who their influences are: Joy Division, Echo and The Bunnymen. Their sophomore LP, Too Much Sun and Not Enough Gloom at the Beach is a coalition the gloom-and-doom of goth with blitzes of new wave elasticity. Stand out tracks like “A Fever” and “Never Left” employ nimble bass work, season budding synths, and hyper yet reluctant guitar. A sense of yearning can be extracted from the ennui in the vocals of Chris J as he explore themes of heartbreak, regret, and isolation. Amidst the warm despair are ear-catching melodies coinciding with an eerie Transylvanian air, much like the icey climate created by Martin Hannett on older post-punk recordings. The band’s sound is reminicent of New Order’s pre-Movement era, where the remain Joy Division members were gradually shedding away their previous identity by incorporating electronic elements.
Shades of goth rock scream out at points on the record, especially the “Just Like Heaven”-esque title track “Too Much Sun…at the Beach” and the sprightly “Flowers on Graves.” All of the tracks have the pop mentality of The Cure, while having the elegance of Joy Division. Not having a drummer in the band, they elected for a drum machine which at times sounded unually warm and organic, like with “Sun + Moon” and “Never Left.”
Too Much Sun and Not Enough Gloom at the Beach may not be the loudest record from the Philly punk scene this year, but with its inviting gloom-dance melodies and bruised sentiments it’s a different kind of emotion.