Mass Gothic

I've Tortured You Long Enough

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Mass Gothic return with a record that finds the husband-and-wife duo on equal footing. Whereas their 2016 debut felt like it was dominated by Noel Heroux, the wryly titled I've Tortured You Long Enough finds Jessica Zambri, his spouse of 18 years, equally front and center. Overall, this rebalance is the most marked difference on a record that, in almost every other respect, is business as usual. That said, it does feel a little brighter than its predecessor, which is due, in large part, to the lightness of Zambri's vocal, which is far more prominent in the mix, and the album certainly benefits from the variation in tone and point of view. The record opens promisingly with the crunchy riffs and escalating and descending chorus of the instantly captivating "Dark Window." The idiosyncratic rhythms and guitar work on "New Work" is an example of Mass Gothic at their most interesting and melodically affecting, and "Call Me" is propelled by a frantic driving riff, lending it an urgent, exciting air. "J.Z.O.K." adds a glitchy and ever-so-slight psych angle to affairs, and is mildly reminiscent of Groove Armada circa White Light. It's also one of the tracks that illustrates the duo's increasingly deft flair for a hook. Nevertheless, at only nine tracks, the record feels a tad overlong and includes missteps, like the lumpen ode "How I Love You" and the big beat bombast of "Keep on Dying," which doesn’t quite hit the euphoric mark it aims for. On the other hand, the thumping beat, intertwining harmonies, and reaching riffs of the title track culminate to a great build and an album standout. All in all, Mass Gothic have made an album of serviceable, if not shinning, indie pop. That said, it is a step forward from their debut and an overall solid effort from which it's possible to glean some truly compelling moments.

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