Review Summary: New EBM revival from Brooklyn, New York.
The years since 2009 have seen a new brilliant underground revival of post-punk. Most styles have gotten nice treatment; Lust for Youth play darkwave-esque synthpop, Blank Dogs are going lo-fi garage post-punk, Zola Jesus has made goth cool again. However, there is one related style that hasn’t really seen much of a revival, EBM. Basically the child of rhythmic synthpop and hard hitting industrial, EBM wasn’t that popular when it emerged and it hasn’t had much lasting influence outside of a dedicated fanbase. That’s why it’s so refreshing to hear Brooklyn act Believer/Law.
Some of the genre clichés that turn people off of EBM have been tastefully avoided here. This music does not sound overly “macho” and the vocals have been treated with electronic effects (as opposed to the sometimes overly dry vocals in 80s bands). While the music is minimal, the mix is not Spartan. There are plenty of layers here that mesh quite nicely. The warbling vocals seem to mimic the synth permutations. Each of the tracks has some distinct quality, despite sticking to the same formula. The title track, “Contrition” makes use of more “old school” sounding synthesizers and well placed blasts of fuzzy synth noise. The other song here, “The Task at Hand” is probably my preferred track. The vocals are sung in a more traditional verse rhythm, although they remain equally as unintelligible. The various synth parts exhibit a slowly evolving chord progression, which stands in stark contrast to the ferociously fast beat.
Released on the excellent Brooklyn label Robert & Leopold, Believer/Law’s debut “single” sold out upon release. A second pressing was made, and it sold out even faster. This is a band to watch, as they’re expanding the scope of the current underground revival that is way better than the one we had 10 years ago. If you’re interested, I would also check out the two member’s other projects, York Factory Complaint and EMP. They’re not EBM, but you’ll find plenty to like.
Both tracks can be streamed on their soundcloud.