Poltergeists is a biweekly feature in which Michael and Wes share tracks that they have had on repeat over the past two weeks.
Dead When I Found Her - All The Way Down
I spoke with Michael Holloway of Dead When I Found Her in the winter of 2014, nearly a year ago, when he broke through the barrier of this album. He told me that it was dark and heavy, far more extreme than previous Dead When I Found Her releases. Knowing that Michael has a really great sense of sound and rhythm, I was looking forward to this release. I pre-ordered it when it was posted (which is not something I usually do without hearing anything) and I kept away from teasers or samples. Until yesterday. Sonic Seducer had an exclusive stream of the bonus disk and I just couldn’t stop myself from checking it out. “The Bottom” is the third track on the bonus disk, but is obviously the one that sticks out as: “Oh! Yeah! This is way different in the best way.”
All The Way Down is being marketed as a bleak look at aging, death, and dying. The tagline is “What if the last part of your life is the worst part of your life?” It is a complete concept that you can really feel in the album. I chose “Threadbare” for this specific review because it is a great example of the new album’s pace. The album breathes wonderfully. It takes its time. It is a mature step for Dead When I Found Her and I can’t wait to get deep into this album. Its atmosphere, which is something that is important to me, is dark, bleak, and true to the theme. It is chaotic at times - as death, I am sure, will be - and it feels lonely at other times.
Michael did a wonderful interview with our friends at I Die : You Die. He said that “Downpour” was the pop song on the album and that it is closest to the last few albums in structure (verse, chorus, break, verse, etc.). This track is bold and has a lot of elements that I really enjoy. With a solid beat, this is the most club-friendly track, but it still manages to maintain the kind of bleak and dark feeling of the rest of the album. Michael also said in the interview that he wanted to create a feeling of conversation between the samples and the different vocal styles used in the album. This is most apparent on tracks like “The Bottom” or the previously mentioned “Threadbare,” but still holds true in “Downpour.” It is an interesting technique for communicating a storyline - or concept in this case - and is reminiscent of Chrysalide, or Skinny Puppy in its delivery.
The Good Life - “Inmates”
I realized I have never written about The Good Life’s Album of the Year, which considering how much I listen to it, is almost a criminal break from the premise of Poltergeists. This is hands down my favorite song from the album. It is definitely more powerful in the context of the full album - the album is a concept where each track represents about a month of a relationship - but even without the full context of the previous songs, this song manages to tear me up. There’s something about how the song slowly builds from simple plucking of the guitar and soft vocals, something about the painful lyrics, that tugs at me, making me feel in a way that most music fails to.
Haujobb - “Leaving”
The new Haujobb has me in a spot where I can’t talk about the whole album yet; I’m a huge fan of Haujobb, and the sound of the album as a whole has been unexpected, in a way that has me unsure how I totally feel about it. That said, I’ve really enjoyed this song every time it’s come on. I love the simplicity of it. The piano has a great emotional feel to it. It’s dark, melancholic, and when paired with the low hum of the bass and atmospheric elements it begins to feel almost aggressive in a way that was surprising the first time I listened. Pair that with the whispered vocals and the whole thing feels a little disconcerting; there’s a tension that’s created where you kind of expect it to blow up at any moment, but it never really fully does.