Review Summary: While most seem to be distancing themselves from the 80's (see: Killers, Bravery), She Wants Revenge release another Joy Division embracing stinker.
Let’s face it, She Wants Revenge showed up a little late to the Post-Punk/Goth revival party to begin with. Released almost 4 years after Interpol, a band that SWR arguably owe their whole career to, made their Matador debut, She Wants Revenge
already felt a bit stale. However stale is forgivable when your album contains a track like Tear You Apart
, Revenge’s sinister, surprisingly catchy first single. It’s been about two years since the duo released their self-titled debut, and, where that record was a bit out of date already, This is Forever
is encrusted in a thick coat of mold, dust and bass synthesizers.
The space between She Wants Revenge’s two albums found groups like The Killers, who found success in the form of Americana, and The Bravery, who didn’t find much success at all, attempting to distance themselves from the 80’s. She Wants Revenge, on the other hand, have stayed true to their roots: This is Forever is just as electronic heavy as its predecessor. Tracks like Written in Blood
(which makes cringe-worthy use of cowbell) are still driven by speaker rattling bass and dancey beats. What I Want
is a bit more organic, relying heavily on electric guitar and real bass. The verses’ multi-tracked, semi-rapped vocals and sparse arrangement give off a bit of Hip Hop feel, though the chorus brings back the homogenized mixture of all things influenced by Joy Division. Neither of these styles are particularly new territory for the duo, both of whom used to be involved in Hip Hop music. Of course, nothing on This is Forever is really new territory; the 80’s influenced synthesizers, the electronic drums, the monotone vocalist, it’s all been heard before. It’s all been done so much better.
Throughout the 11 songs that his baritone is present on (Opener First, Love
and atmospheric second to last track All Those Moments
are without vocals), vocalist Justin Warfield is invariably either describing a woman’s actions or some kind of break-up in morbid detail. Customarily he will throw in a line or two about violence or insanity, just to make things a bit darker. On Replacement
, a crazy ex-lover begs for the singer’s return, as Warfield puts it “it started as an honest attraction/began under the guise of a flirt/Till you were screaming at the edge of the bed,/"Nobody moves, nobody gets hurt!”
. Lead single True Romance
sees the tides being turned. This time Warfield has been played, his woman hasn’t ever loved him, hasn’t ever cared at all. The album’s overtly gloomy lyrics may have appeal but they’re also terribly cliché and uninspired at points. She Wants Revenge are both lyrically and musically at their best on She Will Always Be a Broken Girl
, its lyrics paint a vivid picture of self-esteem drained girl overtop the album’s best synth line. During the track’s ending chant, Warfield ditches the Ian Curtis imitation, his voice going a bit out of tune as it reaches into its higher ranges. This is really one of the only moments on the album where he truly breaks form.
Even on the piano and synthesized string heavy It’s Just Begun
, a tender ballad when compared the coldness of the songs that surround it, Warfield’s voice is nearly void of emotion. Still, the change of pace alone makes this track a standout. This is Forever is simply too boring, too unoriginal and too, well, bad to warrant any kind of really good review. The album, like its predecessor, has some good moments, but when your band is so similar to its influences, you’ve got to do a little bit better than one or two standout tracks. Sorry, She Wants Revenge, but when I want synth-heavy Post-Punk/Goth/Dark Wave/Whatever, there are dozens of acts I’d rather hear. This is Forever, thankfully contradicting its moniker, ends on Rachael
. Rachael, named for its questioning lead character, is a good track to end with, one of the better songs on the album. It’s pretty heavy, catchy and still just as gloomy as ever. I’d go into more detail, but I’d just end up repeating myself. The word ‘dark’ doesn’t have that many synonyms. Neither does ‘average’.