Unloved’s third long-player, The Pink Album, is an epic, expansive collection of 22 tracks, that clocks in at a total of 90 minutes. The running time of short feature film. Unloved’s protagonists – Jade Vincent, Keefus Ciancia, and David Holmes – are, of course, well versed in the cinematic. Creating, and curating, scores both individually, and as team, for director Steven Soderbergh, and acclaimed shows, such as True Detective and Killing Eve.*
The set’s steeped in a gothic that’s at least part an old crumbling Hollywood – one of fading stars, the pop of magnesium flashbulbs, and a Babylon of scandal sheets. The other part is `60s girl groups. I guess the band are defined by Vincent’s vocals. Her ghostly, haunting harmonies. The slightly schlocky spoken word melodrama that’s a little like Nico fronting The Shangri-Las (check Now).
The rock n roll electro of Girl Can`t Help It is bubblegum Vega and Suicide. Its plugged-in pounding also recalling early Jesus And Mary Chain. Mother`s Been A Bad Girl struts its glam stuff like a transistorized T-Rex. A bionic Bolan boogie, riding arpeggiated Silver Apples-esque oscillations. Lucky swaggers with a finger-clicking, switchblade-wielding swing. Boowaah is grungy, and Garbage-like, packing a powerful post-punk b-line. WTC does a Question Mark, and bangs out a buzzing broken Batman theme on a `60s psyche organ. No Substance is a gospel of wailing, wasted, souls. To The Day I Die could be one of Tropic Of Cancer`s occult rituals. Accountable, a guilt-ridden duet with Jarvis Cocker, puts a spent Cilla Black, Shirley Bassey, on the Twin Peaks roadhouse stage.
If there’s an overall narrative to the record, then it’s obsession. The lyrics are largely, almost exclusively, concerned with desire. Doomed, romance, drugged-up, seriously strung-out on love. Foolin’, for example, is a mad, over-amped, Tiki-lounge mambo, habouring halloween heartbreak. A booming, echoed, burlesque bombshell blues. Walk On, Yeah is a tortured torch song – accapella save strings, and climbing, ascending, a scaffold of acoustic picking and gallows snare roll.
Everywhere is heavy, crazy, with reverb, which raises a spooky Phil Spector-esque wall of sound, and also gives everything a strongly psychedelic, ethereal quality. This true for erotic slow dancers, such as the whip-cracking, sex dungeon serenade, Sorry, Baby, and the sleazy Étienne Daho-starring Love Experiment – and also the great, galloping Euro-disco of Turn Of The Screw, or the lust-laden – fire & brimstone preacher-peppered – throb of the Jon Spencer-assisted Call Me When You Have A Clue.
Besides the two singles, the beautiful Ever, and Thinkin` About Her, which are both destined to become classics, the other standouts for me are Raven Violet-led, rabble-rousing, reality challenging, Waiting For Tomorrow – which stomps and stamps along like some subverted show tune, Oliver and If? at Clockwork Orange‘s Korova Milk Bar – and Number In My Phone. A deceptively moving rumination on loss – “old wounds` sting” – hiding behind a big, bold, hand-clapping, dance beat. Inspired by messages left by loved ones no longer with us – Holmes cites dearly departed spar, Andrew Weatherall – it ends with the voice of Jade’s mum.
The Pink Album was announced a little while back, but I think that the vinyl is finally due this week. You can order a copy directly from Heavenly Recordings.
*David has also composed cracking scores for the likes of Yann Demange’s `71, and Lisa Barros D’Sa’s Ordinary Love.