The transcontinental trio known as Cross Stitched Eyes are at it again delivering more of their own quirky brand of goth driven anarcho-punk in the tradition of a class act like Rudimentary Peni and post-punk masters Killing Joke. Their latest and second LP entitled Decomposition recently made available through Alternative Tentacles sees the band working in a much more abstract context than fans of this brand of punk rock would expect.
Rather than attempt to mimic the formula of songwriting proven successful by past bands they tend to abstract those forms to create much more of an audio mosaic than a musical portrait. Only after taking that into consideration does the title "Decomposition" really begin to make sense. The album is composed, or decomposed, of twelve fast and agro tracks which express just as much gloom as one could derive from the deathrock genre but in a far more aggressive and multi-faceted presentation. Each song is like another layer of an onion carefully being peeled back as tears slowly build up in the listener; tracks like "Existence", "Broken Mind" and "Suffocation" really showcase CSE's propensity toward a hard goth sound witch really builds an airy and somewhat light atmosphere backed by a strong and pulsating rhythm section and some of the most spite filled vocals I've heard in a long while.
There's a lot of kick to this album as well, "Animated Corpse" is an especially fun track which features the brilliant use of some cooky sounding organ effects as if Danny Elfman himself had made a guest appearance. Tracks like "The Void" and "Scars of Past" find CSE cutting their compositions down even further, verging almost into grindcore territory but again centered in a more *rudimentary* approach. The culmination is a seven minute apocalyptic epic entitled "Sluglord" wherein the band adds some sludge to their punk rock solution and ends the album on the bleakest of bleak notes.
"Decomposition" is an album that harkens back to the glory days of 1980's UK punk and goth rock but with a very experimental tinge. It recalls the cut and paste goth punk experimentation one finds in American bands like Samhain and Rosemary's Babies, but much more the latter to my ears because of their decidedly quirkier, and therefore, a little more fun approach.
If you're unfamiliar, Cross Stitched Eyes boast members from bands as varied as the legendary UK Subs and Zygote to newer acts like Alaric and Tuorette Syndrome. Decomposition is a must for goths and punks alike, it breaths a fresh breath of life into a once dead but newly revived genres for this year and I'm sure will continue to for many years to come.