This Belfast three piece have already been nominated for the Irish music prize for their 2013 album, ‘The New Life’, and previously released singles on Brooklyn’s coolest indie label Captured Tracks (a former home to the likes of Thee Oh Sees, Mac De Marco and DIIV amongst others). Having shifted away from their earlier more guitar orientated approach, which had more in common with bands like The Pastels and Jonathan Richman, this new album finds them revelling in dark electronic textures, more in line with early Cure or even Bauhaus.

Opener ‘25’ has synth riffs, moody guitar and basslines from the start, conjuring up a bleak dystopian landscape, with not a jangly guitar in sight. They’ve used drum machines on the album following the departure of drummer Gib Cassidy, and maybe that shift in line up has required a change in musical approach, yet there’s still some kind of dark beauty running throughout. ‘Haus Proud’ builds and builds into a repetitive, woozy, chant of a tune whereas ‘The Process’ has more moody bass lines and discordant angular guitar riffs over Cathal Cully’s deep vocals, like Sisters Of Mercy or early Birthday Party, before exploding into a more ferocious uptempo blast, as if peeking its head out from the tombs, only to be disappointed and retreating back down into the murky worlds below.

‘The Impaled Mystique’ could be the name of a Britain’s Not Got Talent act that’s gone horribly wrong, but instead it’s a shadowy synth driven tune, more reminiscent of early Echo & The Bunnymen, whilst still maintaining a menacingly discordant feel . There’s a slight shift skywards towards the chorus but no big sweeping uplifting sounds, just tons of moody guitars and discordant piano stabs which lead the funeral party out of town, however you get the feeling that’s just the way they like it- boldly bleak. ‘A Moment and A Year’ even starts with a creaking sound, a coffin opening, a haunted house being explored maybe, all with guitar scratchings and other creepy noises before giving way to the title track which is one of the more melodic songs on the album – with a sad tinged slow beauty, and more harmonies pulsing through its veins. Album closer ‘Karoline’ is another of their uplifting ones, with long held vocal notes sprinkled over delicate cascading guitar riffs which dissolve into more of a wig out towards the end. There’s not a song above a mid paced plod but that seems to suit their new found style, with hints of  Berlin-era Bowie, Stockhausen, Philip Glass and the New York ‘No Wave’ scene of the early 80s, Stains On Silence is a mesmerising, atmospheric listen. I love the fact that they’re defiantly dark and moody, doing things their own way – this is their art and they really don’t give a flying bat, what anyone thinks. Wallowing in the depths of moodiness can be a rewarding experience.

Release Date 15th June 2018 (Tough Love Records)

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From the early days of creating handmade zines, in a DIY paper and glue style, interviewing bands around town, then pestering Piccadilly Records to sell them, to writing for various independent mags such as Chimp and Ablaze, writing about the music I love is still a great passion. After testing the music industry waters in London with stints at various labels, being back in my hometown again, writing about this city’s vibrant music scene is as exciting as ever. All time favourite bands include Sonic Youth, Nick Cave, Patti Smith although anything from electro to folk via blues and pysch rock will also do nicely too. A great album, is simply a great album, regardless of whatever musical cage you put it in.