While many bands attempt to modernize their influences, and create a sound that both references points along musical history’s timeline and plays off current trends, there are those rare bands that just don’t give a fuck about the latest fads and craft music that blends seamlessly into the past, lost in time. Through their debut EP, and more recently, their first full length album, Chicago’s darkest duo, Black Math, float through goth and new wave’s golden age.
This year sees the band releasing both an EP of new material titled Counterfeit Unealities and their first full-length album, a self-titled work of older material originally released as a cassette in 2008. Fuzzy, darkwave compositions and a raw edge stylistically mark the self-titled album. Compiled of earlier material, this release sees the band less polished and still heavily favoring guitar over electronics. Noisy, crashing and haunting, the instrumentation on the album sounds like The Jesus and Mary Chain recording while buried six feet under. The vocals alternate between male and female, droning and howling in syncopation, but remaining largely hidden underneath the instrumentation. The tracks on the album may blend together a bit too much, but it works in Black Math’s favor, sucking you deep into a vortex of despair.
Black Math - Counterfeit Unrealities EP [Self-Released] // Grade: A-
Black Math’s new EP, Counterfeit Unrealities, consists of new material and will be re-released later this year with additional new tracks as an album. The band’s new material is every bit as dark as the tracks on their self-titled album, but with considerably more polish and far less noise. The four track EP introduces gentler instrumentation. Drum machine, cello and keys are favored over crashing guitar. Echo and the Bunnymen and Siouxsie and the Banshees both come to mind as influences on Counterfeit Unrealities. Xina’s voice possesses that same operatic, eerie range of Siouxsie Sioux and it takes center stage in the very Banshees-esque “Bottomless Sea”. “Part of Me” is easily my favorite track from Black Math’s catalog of material. It’s the band’s first truly upbeat offering, but doesn’t lose it’s dark, droning edge in the process. Counterfeit Unrealities is welcome maturation for Black Math, maintaining the spirit of their earlier material while seeing Xina, Jimmy and Andrew tackle new territory as a band.