Revisiting the sounds of the Sisters of Mercy, the Cure and New Order, the female-fronted, San Francisco trio the Vanishing create a dark and danceable revival of gothic music that has no contemporaries but the Faint. On their full-length debut, Songs For Psychotic Children, ex-Subtonix member Jesse Eva sings with a disturbed 80s glimmer that would have fit in perfectly at the Factory while keyboardist Sadie Shaw (formerly of the Lies) lays down thick synth moans. On tracks like "White Walls", Eva shouts like a female Ian Curtis and the music spirals into oblivion like a B-side to Joy Division's "She's Lost Control". "Lost In Pictures" grinds dementedly to drummer Brian Hock's schizophrenic beat while evoking the painful side of nostalgia and "Into the Arms of Fire" simmers with all the fear and foreboding that accompanied the Reagan era. This goth disco may sound from another time entirely, even out of place in 2003, but derivative or not, it's both gloomy and enthusiastic, tortured and hopeful, and it might just inspire a new generation of teenagers to make it through the bleakest of days.
AllMusic Review by Charles Spano