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Morticia's Chair

Echolocator

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Morticia's Chair
Echolocator
(self-released)

The press release that accompanied this album describes Morticia's Chair as "a band comprised of equal parts from all sides. Their goal is to create without walls. The outcome is not known but always welcome." You couldn't possibly get more obtuse than this. This might as well be the description of a bogus Eastern healing ritual. And that's the problem with this act, which includes singer-guitarist Mark K, drummer Mike Bostwick, and singer-bassist Jeffrey Deasy. While the band has solid songwriting skills, and singer-guitarist Mark K has a bellowing voice that resembles that of Goth icon Peter Murphy, the blatant attempts to create an aura of mystery surrounding its music and identity come off as forced and unnatural.

The song "Cinder," for example, has a terrific swirl of electric guitars and shards of feedback, but its narrative -- something about falling rain and melting wax -- employs far too many Goth stereotypes. Likewise, the whispering vocals, percolating electronic bleeps, and thick bass riffs in "Starchamber" are aesthetically pleasing, but the garbled vocals that emerge by the song's end disrupt the track's continuity. To its credit, Morticia's Chair experiments with a variety of sounds. In instrumentals such as "Dark Hand" and "Orchard," it pairs acoustic guitars with cascading keyboards and tones down the guitars. The songs might be a little too new age, but they're beautifully written. The album's best song is "Another Siren," on which the band plays up its pop/rock sensibilities and goes easy on the Goth clichés. Here, it sounds less like a bad imitation of Bauhaus and more like a band trying to carry on Bauhaus's legacy with its own distinct sound. -- Niesel

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