I will not say Night Gallery sound like Depeche Mode. I will not say Night Gallery sound like Depeche Mode. I will not say…ok, it’s a comparison you just cannot avoid on the duo’s soon-to-be-released (August 10) LP, Constant Struggle. I earnestly hope the public allow themselves to dive into the eight tracks contained within, and take the time to look deeper than the vocal tones. Those willing to enter Night Gallery’s fold with an open ear, will be rewarded with lush, astutely prepared instrumentation that draws from the glory days of dark-tinted pop.
Constant Struggle is not as much an homage to Music for the Masses-era Depeche Mode, as it is a blending of references already drawn from in members Aaron David Ross and Adam Griffin’s other musical projects. As a collection, the tracks lean closest to definition as synthpop, bolstered with the spirit of the New Romantics. But in the ambling, rhythmic industrial pulse of “Real Normal” and the throaty, low-pitched words of “Sex Curse” you’re tipped to that same sense of cinematic forebodence heard in Ross’ work with Gatekeeper. And while Golden Birthday, the Chicago-based outfit Griffin tours with, is often followed by the genre assignment “lo-fi pop”, the keyboard synthpop that forms that base level of their sound is not far off from the less brooding of Constant Struggle‘s selections (“Mary Bell”, “Fever Dreamer”).
This balance of lighthearted, early electronic pop peppered with darker colors provides Constant Struggle with a framework that allows for endless variety. “Wild Palms” pairs breezy tropicalia with swaying vocals, arriving a product of the Pet Shop Boys influence. On the opposite side of the sonic spectrum, “Too Many Men” is beat-driven, assisted by elongated, heavy words. But the most interesting element in Night Gallery’s mix is that through all their many reference points drawn from the past, they still imbue a sense on nowness to the album. Both the title track and “Fever Dreamer” present themselves vocally as thoroughly modern slices of electronic pop.
If at any point in your life you’ve spent time immersed in the genres of darkwave, synthpop or new wave…or, if you just really love Depeche Mode, Night Gallery is a name that needs to be on your radar.