Remember when Gothic used to be dangerous music? Frighteningly dark and depressing music that made your parents uneasy? Perhaps the worst crime of the 1990’s was the marketing of tepid industrial and nü metal to the baggy bondage pant wearing boneheads masquerading as goths. Mushy‘s Faded Heart is a welcome return to that mysterious shadowland that defined the vintage 1980‘s darkwave. Faded Heart reminds us that this music is supposed to be pale and anorexic.
As a musician, Valentina Mushy has definitely matured with this release. Although warmer than most modern industrial (this isn’t Witch House by any means,) Mushy’s sound still had that stark minimal electronic edge that prevails in this new generation. This time around, the foreboding synths still abound but this time they are tempered by acoustic instrumentation that saturates everything in a damp Velvet’s haze. Dull beats throb throughout the entire record, as electronics weave themselves around Manson family guitar’s and Southern Death Cult strings. Better still, the vocals are tranquil and haunting. Like Dead Can Dance on a Belladonna trip they are equal parts Black Metal and Baroque Pop. If I were fifteen again, this album would sit proudly in my stack, somewhere between copies of 13:13 and Song and Legend. This is serious red light bedroom music. Clove cigarettes and sandalwood.
As this current Grave Wave struggles for legitimacy, this is just the kind of music it needs. Music that draws from the past without sounding tributary or dated. Faded Heart is just that.What places Valentina Mushy at the apex of what’s happening now is an intricate knowledge of her influences and a powerful, yet graceful control of her muse.
This is the new Gothic: grit and grain with absolutely no gimmick. Download a preview mix of Faded Heart above.