Monday, March 5, 2012
Crimson Scarlet on Cool Summer Records
Cool Summer sent in a dancey new wave single from the guys in Gardens &Villa a while back and this one from Santa Barbara, CA's Crimson Scarlet is winding up in a dance sound from an entirely different starting point.
Crimson Scarlett is a five piece, (does the drum machine count then? - ed) self described death rock band who up the tempo's of dread and go for a slick produced pop sound on this A-Side track, "Sanctuary". There's hint of speed metal scales and a Sister's of Mercy or Siouxsie dark slant and Joan Jett snarly vocals. The guitar and percussion is so crafted they come off as mechanical, (that's a drum machine named the General - ed) hard panning a ssss-y crash cymbal left and right. A punky echo'd vocal from Chelsey is all knowing and deep, or high pitch and scared out of her mind on the chorus: "Sanctu - ary". Arty, abstract poetics unravel behind these Ministry sampled guitar lines. But again, these guys aren't wallowing in the gloom, they punch up the BPM's right away and write from there, making for an unholy alliance of pentagrams on the dancefloor.
The B-Side's, "Two kinds of Red" sounds like it's pulling out that classic chorus effect on the guitar and this one is surprisingly closer to Ms. Sioux, getting really eerie, Ms. Crowley has pinned down that style vocal here...these drums are programmed pretty nice too, surprising human, weirdly enough. Dual layers of distortion grind away on top of this quick beat, all restrained and gated, doesn't even sound liek they're mic'd in a live room. Maybe there was so much compression on the kick and snare back in the '80s that here it sounds perfectly natural to hear the real thing duplicated like this. The speed and uptempo of this almost works against this natural dread of the sound, but then again why can't you combine these aesthetics? Remember Skinny Puppy? Death Dance.
Check out their bandcamp.... this one is appropriately on crimson vinyl, with glossy printed mini poster insert. The sleeve has apocryphal symbols of dread in terrible circles with the typeface of witches and illuminated manuscripts...from Cool Summer Records. Who seem to agree with the Dead Milkmen that You'll Dance to Anything.