Sumerian Fleet

Just Pressure

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Dutch darkwave unit Sumerian Fleet first appeared in the form of a few hard-to-track-down EPs and 12" singles. Producers Alden Tyrell and Mr. Pauli created their tracks with a barrage of vintage synthesizers, drum machines, and sequencers and vocalist Zarkoff completed the package, channeling the vocals of club-friendly '80s goth acts like Bauhaus and Sisters of Mercy in an updated look at the shadowy corners those early darkwave pioneers explored. Debut full-length Just Pressure expands on the group's fantastic gothic revisions, recalling the best and most danceable moments of goth's golden hours in the mid-'80s. The opening title track finds Zarkoff's grim vocals landing directly between Peter Murphy's most howling Bauhaus screams and the guttural growl of Sisters of Mercy's Andrew Eldritch. The cold synth arpeggios and sawtooth stabs of tunes like "On to You" and "Unfulfilled Desire" follow the same dance-driven rhythms of industrial-lite club acts like Front 242 and Nitzer Ebb, revisiting their metallic churn with incredible attention to detail. Not all the songs are dead-to-rights re-envisionings of '80s goth classics. "Dirty Water" has a strange post-punk feel to it, with its rolling bassline, guitars, and vocal tracks alike coated in different types of chorus effects. "Gone for Good" is nearly mellow in comparison to the rest of the album, a droning and downtempoed dirge with vocals that sound more like David Bowie fronting Psychic TV than the brittle beats that fill much of Just Pressure. Ultimately though, however derivative some of Sumerian Fleet's songs may be, the most derivative moments are when the band is at its best. While perhaps not the most original statements, these revisitations are the most moving, interesting, and exciting points of the album. For those enamored with the spirit of '80s alt-goth-electro who have worn out their copies of Tyranny (For You), the Land of Rape and Honey, or Floodland, look no further than Just Pressure.

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